Posts Tagged ‘writing101’

This was not Molly’s favourite day. In fact, it ranked as one of her least liked days ever, second only to ten days ago when she came home and found Marc’s body.

Why? she thought. Why on earth would he do such a thing?

She thought they had been happy. She thought he had been happy. They’d been talking about getting married, maybe even buying a house. Things had been going so well. Or so she thought.

The funeral today had not brought any sense of comfort or closure that she’d been hoping for. Molly was relieved to be coming home, bringing this horrible day of mourning and mourners to a close with some blessed silence.

Out of habit Molly checked the mail before heading upstairs to her apartment.

And stopped, hands shaking, barely breathing. There, between the phone bill and a flier for carpet cleaning, was an envelope addressed to her in Marc’s impeccable handwriting.

A suicide note? An explanation? A tear fell, smudging the ink Marc had used to write her name.

She wanted answers. She wanted to fly upstairs and rip the envelope open. But she didn’t trust her legs.

With great concentration, Molly made her way upstairs, unlocked her door, and went inside. Slowly, deliberately, she opened the envelope. And then closed her door, wanting to be alone with her beloved Marc one last time.


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saudade — longing, melancholy, nostalgia
the love of something or someone that is missing or lost

How is it possible for me
to be homesick for a home
I’ve never had? Sometimes,
when the moon keeps me
company, I remember you.
Perhaps it is the sterile silver
light, casting shadows on
everything but my heart.
Night is when I miss you
most, not because you are
gone, but because I never
knew you, or your heart,
as cold and sterile and
unresponsive to my touch
as moonbeams.

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Musick has Charms to sooth
a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a
knotted Oak.

-William Congreve, 1697

Music is such a universal joy in this life. With so many styles and genres, I think it would be the rare person who couldn’t find some sort of music that brings joy or comfort.

Several of my musician friends have spoken about hearing music, a sort of soundtrack for their lives. And just like in movies, some of the music is original and some has already been composed—the lyrics and tempo and melody just seamlessly fitting in to the action.

But life soundtracks change. What might be compelling or important to you may not stay that way indefinitely. This is why I’m hard-pressed to select specific songs as favourites. That changes, depending on mood, circumstances, even location. But if I’m unable to settle on favourites, I can point to songs that have made a lasting impression on me. And while there would be quite a few to choose from if I were forced to make a list, here’s a representative sample:

‘I Can See Clearly Now’, Johnny Nash—I remember my mother once telling me that this was one of her favourite songs. After she was killed in a car accident, choosing the music proved to be one of the most difficult aspects of planning the funeral service. My brother, sister, and I each chose a song that we felt represented our mom. I chose this.

‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ from Orfeo ed Euridice, Christoph Willibald Gluck—I played the flute from the time I was in the 4th grade through my freshman year of high school (after which time I gave up band for drama classes). I didn’t play for a long time after that. Several years ago, though, I picked it up again (and have since pretty much stopped). A medical condition has compromised my fine motor skills, and I thought playing the flute would help preserve the dexterity of my fingers. (It’s also why I taught myself how to knit.) I chose this solo to practice during my lessons, and it still makes me smile whenever I hear it.

‘Bus Stop’, The Hollies—My best friend introduced me to this song many (many) years ago. Such fond memories connected with this song, as well as numerous others I associate with our friendship. Whenever this song comes on, I can’t help but crank up the volume and sing along.

My list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. What are the important songs in the soundtrack to your life?

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Travelling Nostalgia

remember when we drove
from Austin to Albuquerque
the first time
driving through the night to
get to your parents’ house
on time
we crested a
hill at sunrise, cold fog not
yet dissipated
I wanted to reach out and
touch the velvet hills
to stop and curl
up in the valley and wrap
them around my shoulders
a prayer shawl made from
Mother Earth
but I didn’t want to disturb
the silken curves
instead, I took your
hand, pulling your fingers to
my lips
and together we
welcomed the day

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free writes
lead to
and re-writes
lead to

Just go with it. This is an expression favoured by my 6-year-old son of late. I’m not sure where he picked it up, but he has embraced it fully. He also seems to utter it just when I need to hear it most. I think it’s part of why we make such a good team.

Adults can learn so much from children. Being present. Being in the moment. Not being self-conscious. Appreciating what you’ve got right before you.

As a stage manager, I frequently tell my actors that if they want a lesson in commitment, they need to watch a young child eat an ice cream cone. Especially if it’s hot. Do they care about the ice cream running down their hand, down their arm, to their elbow? Do they care that their face is a mess? No. The mission is clear—eat as much ice cream as possible, minimise loss. Everything else is secondary, inconsequential.

It’s so easy to get caught up, as a grown-up, with inconsequential matters. I do it. You do it. And sometimes, when things aren’t going as planned or as hoped, you have most likely not been presented with an insurmountable problem. It’s helpful to remember life wisdom as seen by a 6-year-old.

Just go with it.

N.B. (added the following morning) Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, my son complained that his nose felt ‘uncomfortable’. I handed him a tissue and suggested he try blowing. He did try, but told me there wasn’t any snot left in it. Then he crawled back into bed and said, ‘I’ll just go with it’.

Oh, he makes me laugh.

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