Day in the Life

IMG_1746You’ve been good to me, 2013. I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing a new writing project online to kick off the new year. As I celebrate my 30th birthday in January, I will share 30 days of storytelling through prose, poetry and imagery. Upstately will have a link to the project tomorrow, January 1. I hesitate to call the project memoir because that word is so heavy with connotations. Neither my age nor my experience live up to it. I am simply writing in the vein of the genre, taking courage, and a challenge, from Thoreau,

“I should not talk about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives…”

I am taking some risk in publishing my past for all the world to see. Though I write with sensitivity concerning those involved, the facts are the facts. Some people are of the opinion that it is “wrong” to talk about the past. That once we forgive, we should forget. Maybe it does not seem fair to tell a story that implicates other people. I would argue it was not fair for a child to have to live that story. Keeping abuse and injustice a secret only perpetuates it. The victim continues to be victimized by the cultural pressure to bury the past. Every story has a time to be told.

I find peace in collecting material and then burning years of journals. Watching the pages billow like fiery roses. I find peace in explaining to my 8-year-old the meaning of catharsis. Beginning to express to her the sacredness of memory and art. I find peace in working with my hands to create mixed media visuals to accompany my writing. I find peace in releasing these things. And in the possibility that another person could feel they are not alone and that there is an end— something that would have made a world of difference to me as I was growing up.

I have many aspirations as a writer but this must happen first. After carrying this story around for the first 30 years of my life, I cannot bring it with me. Working on this new project has been an important process. Putting my past into an art form, working it out creatively. This last year has been like a slow, sweet awakening. A year of beauty and intentionality. A year of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and life changing challenges. A year of finding true, simple joy inside my own little family. A year of friendships that mean so very much to me. With 2014 a sunset away I find myself ready for a fresh year of writing, reading and unexpected upstate experiences. Hope you’ll join me!

4 thoughts on “Day in the Life

  1. Happy New Year. I enjoy reading your posts very much because of the content, always giving me something to ponder, and because of the preciseness with which you write. It’s always very clear to me what you are saying, and I admire that very much. I truly respect your gift to write so impactfully. For many, it is difficult to put into words precisely what they want to say. I find it refreshing to read your beautifully written words. I especially admire your love of motherhood and teaching your children gratitude and to see the world as givers, not takers, and also showing them not to be worldly but spiritual. (Uh, I think that was a run on sentence. The pressure writing to a writer! :) To me, motherhood is the most important job there is. I rejoice with you in loving and answering that calling. God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you as you take this new journey. I pray you find it healing and inspiring. Thank you!

  2. I really relate to this, Nicole. I’ve just gone through a very similar project– something painful and psychological that I’ve spent so many years processing. It’s finished now, and I feel some peace about it although, like you, I do wonder why I feel so strongly that I must publicly un-pick it. I think you’re right… there is cultural pressure to bury the “ugly” things in life, but it’s important (not just for the person experiencing these things, but also for others who are fighting their own demons) to not shy away from the dark parts of life, too. One of Philip Larkin’s poems has a line; “being brave means not scaring others” but paradoxically, I find his darkest poems to be the most comforting (and this line is from a very dark poem). The shared experiences are what enable us to face our world. I wish you the best of luck with the start of your new year!

    • Your sharing this is so encouraging to me, thank you! It’s good to know someone else going through this process. It truly is equal parts honoring my relationship to myself, the child I was whom I could not rescue, and desiring to be a voice speaking into others’ lives. Whether someone who’s currently struggling in a situation or someone still hurting from a past situation. And you are quite right, we cannot neglect the ugly, dark parts of life. It’s reality and it shapes us as much as the good. Additionally, I find writing my story to be as important to my children as any other parenting choice. I want them to (eventually) understand pain and redemption, to be able to manage their own future difficulties and to be able to connect with and minister to others who are hurting. On my own journey, I have been particularly affected by a verse of scripture regarding the value of that shared experience, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

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