After the Storm
Bright New Beginnings
Against a backdrop of a darkening sky, leaves yellowed with age and autumn yield to the breeze and skip across the lawn. Daydreaming at my bedroom window, I give in to Sunday noodling, working lefty on my laptop.
I type with my once-unfavored hand since the brain bleed struck me at age fifty-seven, and slammed the door on work and pastimes: gardening and landscape design, fiber and decorative arts, singing, and writing.
After several daunting months of rehabilitation, my home recovery began to brighten. I caught a glimpse of an entrance, re-entry through a rose-covered bower of hope. Our community chorus director urged me to return to rehearsals that fall. They needed my strong alto for Holiday concerts, she said, and singing would complement my speech therapy.
My language was clearer and more coherent, and I picked up the garden club newsletter I'd edited and published before the stroke. Struggling with disability, no longer gardening, I gave up the newsletter and the club. My husband encouraged me to keep writing. He bought my first laptop and I enrolled in a basic online adult-ed writing class.
I was eager to tell my stories. I journaled with the Ohm Writer program, worked my assignments, and read about the craft of memoir with Annie Dillard, Natalie Greenburg, Vivian Gornick, Brenda Miller, Beth Kephart, Sue Silverman, and more... Even the grounding writings of Thich nhat hanh — I loaded up my new Nook reader. Hemiplegia be damned! Holding a book and turning pages without use of my right arm and hand frustrated me, so I took to digital reading and writing.
In the ensuing years, I’ve taken many online writing and memoir classes, and my essays have been published in numerous journals. Writing gave me hope and has saved me from the dark places.
November prepared me for settling in ahead of deep winter stillness and readied me to accept the gift of time and space which is afforded to this mobility-impaired, not yet elderly, and always aspiring writer; to accept it with grace and vulnerability.
Writing I Must Have Wandered was a more than three-year effort that taxed my memory and mental health and pushed me deep into truth-telling. Memoir is meant to focus on one slice of life, but I wrote my life’s stories as they presented themselves to me: in fragments, letters, vignettes, lyrical prose, and photos. I think of it as my journey through collage — the bits, and pieces that make up one whole adopted person. This self-publishing endeavor is close to complete. Now to sell a few copies. ;-)
Moving Forward to 2024 — Early resolutions
New writing practice in this Substack atelier where we are invited to support those writers who teach, and we can audit, read, and participate without pressure!
Reducing brain static with neurofeedback, massage, and occupational therapy — all embarked upon this summer — keep it up!
Go to Bethany Beach boardwalk ~ once per week. If not walking, then use the scooter. Go outside. Increase physical and mental wellness.
See 2. Close Twitter/X. Possibly close Instagram. Close Facebook Author Page.
RE: The Trump trials and tribulations, election coverage: try to read less politics…stay calm and engaged while we still have a democracy to protect.
Read and write fiction. Try writing Magical Realism.
Strengthen the immune system — up the vitamins. Do necessary health screenings.
Thanks so much for being here! Until next time, friends and readers, be well! Happy Holidays! -
You are always welcome to Roots and Branches and Memoir-ish Musings by Mel I’m thrilled you’re here! Already a subscriber? Thank you, thank you! First time here? I hope you have found something you like and will consider a free subscription. I write updates every one to two weeks. Your support means a lot to me!