I want to tell you about the fog this morning, how the top layer glowed pink in the rising sun, how it seemed to be surrounding us, me & the pup, hugging the shoulders of all the mountains but somehow not covering us. The foghorns have been a thick accompaniment all night, watching over us, watching over something. We walked up the hill, through the trees, by all the morning birds, past the field swallow with her iridescent wings, feeding her babies under the eaves of the neighbor woman’s house, the house with the enormous garden that reminds me of my mother’s garden every single day. The cool is a balm this morning. It’s amazing how quickly we acclimate.
No deer today, but I did find a tiny hawk’s feather, stuck in the grass up by the old church. I picked it up, carried it in the hand that I use to carry Sophie’s treats. It felt like a treat for me, something to pay attention to.
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
a quick prompt this morning: give me the view from your kitchen window. If you don’t have a kitchen window, write what you’d like to see if you had one, or give me a window from another place you (or your character) have lived. This is about scene-setting, about landscape, about location. 10 minutes — and include one person, even if you can’t see them as you’re writing.
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
I have had a project I wanted to begin for years, that of transcribing material from all of my journals. I started journaling with intent in 1993, right before I broke contact with my mother & stepfather after telling my stepfather I wouldn’t ‘have sex’ with him anymore. I was 21. He and my mother cut me off, financially & emotionally, shunning me from the family, because I was making ‘fear choices.’
I want to get back into this record I’ve created of the transformations of the last 18 years, and am wondering about including bits and pieces here.
The first one I’ve got this morning is from 1993, beginning 11/26. On the inside cover I wrote, ‘Memories for Survival & Living…” I can’t remember if this is before or after I withdrew from school. Maybe there’ll be a record. I couldn’t afford to pay for it anymore. I ended up withdrawing halfway through my senior, and it took me me nearly three years to finish the last two quarters.
Here’s the first couple of pages (a bit of explicit talk about sexual abuse — please be easy with you):
I just bought this book today & I want to fill it with memories of my second father — or maybe with memories of fathers in general — I don’t know what it means to live with a father who is ‘normal.’ Maybe that’s for the best — maybe that’s shaped who I am. That’s certain — I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I hadn’t had the experiences I’ve had. I have all kinds of self-confidence now, but what about my self-respect? I have none… I have no ability to stand up for who I am and who I want to be.
He has, too many times, talked me out of my concerns and fears and talked me out of saying, ‘No. I’m uncomfortable here.’ He’s told me that I’m just scared, giving in to what Neal wanted me to do, giving into boyfriends, just being resistant or problematic. He has asked me to forget/reconstruct the past with regards to him … but not with regards to Neal. he was the first to point out to me times when I was giving Neal a break in my own mind. He has asked me to have his child, to fuck my own children, to lie to my mother and sister and other lovers and to myself. He tells me to be true to myself, and then he tells me to pie to myself — to reconstruct my own history so that I can be happier with it — perhaps so he can be happier with it — is there any question why I feel like I’m going crazy?
(Note: Neal is my biological Dad, the man I refer to as Dad now — at the time, my stepfather was Dad, and my Dad was Neal.)
This morning I have compassion for that girl, that 21-year old sitting in a New Hampshire cafe, hiding from the room with the telephone ringing constantly, the man on the other end trying endlessly to hold on to his control over her. And I’m grateful to her — she got us here. She started us on this road. She made an incredible choice. She stepped away.
Thanks for the ways you’re compassionate with all the layers of your old selves, for the ways you recognize the power of their choices, even if you’d make a different choice now. Thank you for your resilience, your generosity, your words.