Rejection Letters: ‘Perhaps we’re being dense…’

Congratulations!

On finally completing that manuscript, crafting one sublime essay, mastering a poetic masterpiece, achieving your greatest photographic composition…now what?

Since writing here last week about deciding to collate my short stories into book form, aside from finishing the novel currently hogging my hard-drive, I’ve been considering rejection letters that surely will one day clog my inbox.

It undeniably takes guts to distribute one’s work to discerning literary and visual top-brass in hopes of securing their approval, leading to both professional validation and an increase in bank balance. Yes, yes, we all know that casting a net wide in this Writers & Artists pool will inevitably bait rejection but, parking our realism aside, each of us creatives hope for snagging that big break, to arise to the top of murky slush pile, be discovered, not adrift in sea of aspirational uncertainty.

So, this Monday morning, I approach the week with three rejection letters to lift my spirits. I laugh at all three–not just because creative brilliance was overlooked only to be inevitably discovered and produced, but the wording of said letters is quite hilarious.

Plath:

Plath Rejection Letter

I love that The New Yorker admits to perhaps ‘being dense’ in not understanding the correlation between sections of Sylvia’s Amnesiac submission; however, this is a fine example when the crux of a rejection encourages improvement to the writer’s work. Plath heeded their advice, crossed out the section TNY refers to and that deleted poem subsequently became ‘Lyonnesse.’

Plath reads the published Amnesiac here.

Stein:

Stein Rejection Letter

Gertrude Stein is a genius and ‘a trickster,’ says The New York Times in 2012. But Stein received this rejection letter in 1912.  The rejection letter is rather ranting and odd, with Alfred C. Fifield mirroring Stein’s repetition in her submitted manuscript. Fiefield writes:

Only one look, one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.

Hardly one copy? Stein did publish this manuscript, The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family’s Progress, in 1925. But would you recover from receiving such a rejection letter? Would it pack a hefty blow to your ego, to your confidence? Or, would your skin be thick enough to plough forward until publication? Stein certainly maintained a mighty determined focus throughout her career.

Fawlty:

This year, a survey of comedians and comedy writers/actors cited Fawlty Towers as ‘the best British sitcom of all time’ but its rejection letter sent to BBC’s Head of Comedy and Light Entertainment demonstrates that comedy genius can be overlooked. I wonder if Ian Main, the author of the rejection letter at top, later sat through all twelve of Cleese and Booth’s episodes, tossed back a few whiskeys and reconsidered his perhaps rash assessment that Fawlty Towers was anything other than ‘a collection of cliches’ that would ultimately prove ‘a disaster.’ Fawlty Towers can be marmite—some absolutely love it, some are not massive fans—but it’s survived many decades and Manuel still evokes guffaws worldwide.

A toast today to rejection letters!

Receiving one may punch the air temporarily from one’s gut but clearly, from the above and countless other examples (say hello JK Rowling), one agent’s mud pie is another agent’s scrumptious gateau.

Keep submitting your work. Success may just be one letter away.

Very Versatile

Versatile. I type this word. My immediate association with it is the musical Gypsy, based on Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir. I hear youthful Baby June then metamorphic Gypsy then, finally, a show-stopping Mama Rose belting:

Let me do a few tricks,

Some old and then some new tricks

I’m very versatile

I learned the entire score of Gypsy aged seven and must’ve sang the words I’m very versatile thousands of times, surely to the point my mother’s head wished to implode.

Twirling sparkly batons in both hands, I slide into splits on the threadbare rug in our sitting room and wished to be a Vaudeville performer. I hadn’t fully realised that I was born some eighty years too late to tour with the likes of the sublime Mae West, incomparable Judy Garland and the outrageous Sophie Tucker.

But I’ve never forgotten once wishing to be Baby June. I was a girl deeply struck by the tragic rise of June’s sister Louise as a wallflower, the neglected sister, who was subsequently thrust into the limelight when June escapes her mother’s toxic clutches. The scene where Natalie Wood as Louise finally realises she’s pretty is quite poignant. Even to me, as that seven year-old girl twirling on the rug.

I digress…

When Cherylene notified that she’d nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, I heard I’m very versatile in my head. Silly really. But who can fully understand the workings of memory?

Writing this reflective post now, I note the connection between my desire as a child wishing to one day demonstrate my versatility on the stage to the masses with dancing, singing and acting, then fast forward decades and I am here, pretty much doing the same thing on a blogging stage, only with words.

Versatility is a trait I value in others. My blog is very much still in its infancy so Cherylene’s simple act of acknowledging me is honouring. Thanks, Cherylene. Your own blog is versatile in your writing holistically about mind, body and spirit,

According to The Versatile Blogger Award rules, I must reveal seven facts about me. If anyone cares to read on, here’s the skinny on Estella:

  1. I once wrote a novel by accident. Surprisingly, the manuscript was accepted by my first choice from the invaluable Writers & Artists book. Lots of excitement! Too young, too unconfident, I decided instead to pack it away in a shoebox. It’s there now, mocking me, collecting dust. I must unpack it soon.
  2. Motherhood is a mixture of joyful connection and hilarious fun. Gives life purpose.
  3. I grew up engrossed by watching black & white films, musicals and pretty much anything that wasn’t shlock.
  4. I once worked as a carhop waitress.
  5. I have two paralysing phobias. Too frightening to write about them.
  6. I paint, sing, write and make a mean enchilada.
  7. London’s Southbank is one of my favourite spots in the world but my heart will always belong in Ireland.

Apparently I now have to nominate 10 bloggers for this award. Over two months, I’ve sourced so many brilliant blogs. I’m still not entirely sure how this works but will list 10 blogs below whose posts I devoured today:

  1. Bonnywood Manor
  2. Transcribingmemory
  3. Gregory Josephs
  4. Artiche
  5. Richard Berkshire
  6. Grief Happens
  7. Jellyfish Review
  8. Diganta Misra
  9. Ceolsigehanna
  10. Aquileana

[À la Gypsy Rose, I enter stage right, take a bow, remove satin glove and exit.]

Staring You in the Face

Behold, the aha moment!

That nanosecond when at last your brain engages gear.

When the Vaseline smearing your inner-camera lens is wiped away and you perform an internal triumphant victory lap that clarity is now yours. The answer, the truth, all the clues you needed were there all this time…staring you in the face.

Perhaps this aha moment then paves way for a more successful change in life’s direction or attitude.

Perhaps this spark of clarity impounds repercussions for you being last off your mark (aka, you should’ve spotted the glow of neon earlier).

Invite farce and folly to lighten the mood!

Some days, all one needs is a cleverly-drawn cartoon. One with astute caption to reignite synapses and prompt a pause of levity. I love New Yorker cartoons by David Borchart. I’ve held on to this one for ages and always smile when glimpsing The Raven outwitting its opponent with a supremely ironic Scrabble coup de grâce!

‘You’re gonna hate yourself,’ quoth the raven. Not mocking, merely stating the obvious.

It’s that forehead-slapping doh moment that can baffle the sharpest and wiliest of characters.

Have we not all experienced this?

‘Gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door ‘

My blog has idled for over a week.

A raven’s been perched on my shoulder. When I have questioned will I ever find time to post here, he pecks away with cries of ‘nevermore.’

I’ve been writing in my head for hours per day, boasting less-than-impressive actual production on the page. I am plagued by characters’ voices imploring me to type out their dialogue and hit cmd+S so their words and feelings are secure in my hard-drive. I have pretended not to hear them.

To my rescue enters my too-wise-to-be-believed mother, who has never admonished me in my lifetime. I share with her that I have hit a block of writing bricks. As ever, she assures me that ‘even when you are writing in your head, you are writing.’ My mother is an editor, she is truly lovely and I make a note in my journal to keep her.

I wrote here weeks ago about experiencing a resurgence of imagination—lack of imagination is not the barrier now, it’s the feeling of too many projects that damns me to unproductivity. My head houses a hurricane of words that all morph into a cataclysmic crash of lexicon carnage. I dream in technicolour.

Then I woke today with this New Yorker cartoon etched behind my still-closed eyelids. Cue creative epiphany:

Stop setting out each day to (metaphorically) scale the Chrysler Building. Cease raising the daily bar of literary expectations to produce work rivalling Dorothy Parker’s. Writing can be simple. Effectively simple.

This is the answer. Look squarely at what is staring me in face, do not flinch and move forward. Acceptance is key. I am lucky to have several writing outlets:

  • The novel is there. It often writes itself, flowing on my MacBook or woven through grey matter.
  • I love my blog and the connective blogosphere. If I can’t find time to post, reading others’ blogs is an impressive trek through the garden of other writers/photographers/ruminators/bright sparks spanning the globe.
  • This was today’s true lightbulb moment: I’ve amassed a towering Everest of short stories that now suck up the majority of my computer’s memory so why not publish those? Why not, dammit? Why only realise this now after slogging away at them?

 Word-count or words count?

This post has most assuredly gone off piste. So, what I have learned writing it?

A few weeks ago I confessed to cheating on my blog with my novel; now, I am inviting another feisty guest to the party: a book of short stories.

I may self-publish the collection just so feel the weight of it in my hand by end of 2017. Also, bound paper makes a useful gift for friends at Christmas—read it, use the book as a coaster, tear out pages for emergency gift wrap.

I know nowt about self-publishing but, until the novel is complete, this short story concept rocks.

‘Still beguiling all my fancy into smiling’

Consider the raven playing Scrabble.

Inspired by poetry, he is fixed on altering ‘evermore’ to ‘nevermore.’

Be gone!’ I curse the bird, nestling his sleek ebony feathers against my neck.

Today, I am shouting only positive statements to encourage creativity in myself and any other creatives cruising this blog. After all, Poe faced some mighty personal and professional demons but clearly never banished his quill from the paper, nevermore to be writing again!

Poe wrote powerful stuff, did our Edgar Allan. He is credited for inventing detective fiction, the artful writing form of twisting an ending so the reader does not see what is ‘staring them in the face’ all along as they turned pages.

This post itself has been rather a twisting tale: Scrabble, Poe, ravens, overcoming writers block, general musings.

I appreciate your company on my meandering train of thought.

Estella

Imagination in Three Acts

Act 1: The Rouse

I snatched it. I did!

I snatched it, ensnared and bottled it, that elusive and seductive entity. Do you doubt me?

But wait—is it indeed an entity or must it, by definition, then be alive?

It happened today. The sky burned blue, peppered solely with one fascinating cloud. Cumulonimbus—the only cloud name recalled from childhood science, the ‘fat’ cloud, the thief. Yes, the thief!

Act 2: The Conundrum

For there I was, supine on garden chaise lounge, draping myself à la Bette Davis, feeling the full-force of dramatic existential crisis:

Am I a writer? I pondered to the non-responsive atmosphere above.

More questions followed, in the form of internal monologue:

A writer? Am I worthy of such declaration to friends, to family? Proclaiming writer’s status to the greater masses with whom I have only the flimsiest of relationships, based almost entirely on fibre optic cable giving juice to my internet? Perhaps I am now a dried-up writer. Has my creative brain dissolved to dust?

I panicked:

Shall I relinquish this over-glamourised life of words and word-count, plotting intricacies in novel form and pitching the perfect short story? Or, do I revert to nine-to-five clock-punching again?

Self-questioning perpetuated. Evidently I swept away into complete daydream, transported back in time where I graced The Silver Screen and not this current reality:

Perhaps I am not, in fact, Bette Davis but Mary Pickford—a queen of silent movies who looked quite fetching and had much to say yet her voice was muted. Maybe I am better off being silent. Damn!

I needed to get a grip.

I needed to snatch it or I would not survive.

If only the world was a film set. If only I could remain in the garden this sizzling afternoon with a pitcher of Mai Tais as companion. But, sadly, there the fantasy had to end.

Act 3: The Revelation

I began this week with a confession to my blog, a confession of infidelity. Now, another confession: this afternoon’s garden drama was purely an exercise in procrastination, to avoid my laptop. Also, neighbours consider my random 1940’s starlet shtick quite worthy of over-the-fence-tittle-tattle so there was a bit of folly in my temporary madness.

But just when I was resigned to beam back to 2017 and stare frustratingly at a blank Word document, it happened. There it appeared. That aforementioned elusive and seductive entity. Playing hide-and-seek in the sky, held captive by the porcine cloud overhead.

I glimpsed it.

I fluttered lashes and narrowed my focus.

I zeroed in on the spot.

No, it was gone again.

Wait—it’s there!

Stay still! I shouted skyward, alerting Sue at number nineteen to raise her head from weeding flowerbeds.

I unfolded body, reached up into an elongated pose that would have knocked Bob Fosse’s socks off, and I snatched it. And now it is mine.

Imagination. There it was. All this time. Up there. Sleeping on soft clouds, mocking me when it awoke.

I clutched it to my silk gown—no, more a practical playsuit—and felt its energy reverberate within.

Amongst the garden weeds and daffodils, I stood jolted to life by the surge of imagination. In seconds, its petrol fumes ignited my mind and body to action. I high-tailed it from outdoor film set to indoor sound stage and now I am here.

Existential and creative crises have been banished to the stratosphere.

I am here, typing at speed and ready for my close-up.

Because I snatched it.

[Slow curtain, the end, as sassy Bette quipped.]

Thanks for reading. Just to remind: all writing and original photographs published on my blog are copyright of Estella Lynch and can only be reprinted by my permission.

Confessions of a Random Blogger

Dear Blog,

Today’s the day I muster the courage to confess: I have been cheating on you. You have never been far from my thoughts—in fact, I think of you many times per day, wanting to connect but unsure how to cut through the excuses and get in touch.

You mean so much to me.

‘Tis true that our relationship is still new and fresh but already you have become an invaluable part of my life. Our connection has broadened my world, added meaning and given me space to thrive, explore my playful self and express my vulnerabilities in words. You have introduced me to a vast number of fellow creatives across the globe—writers, photographers, poets and brilliantly-colourful characters. I miss my blogging world.

It’s not you, it’s me.

So, this is the reality–I miss you. My days the last fortnight have either been:

  • An exercise in awakening with head buzzing with fresh ideas, then I burn a beeline to my laptop, eager to write some zingy blog post then check in with those blogs I follow and cruise around for others. Do I do it? No. Instead, I descale the kettle, pair up my socks or perform any other procrastination sloggery that distracts me from sitting down and writing a damn post. Then I chastise myself when the sun goes down, slip between sheets with promises I shall rise with birdsong the next morning and embrace my blog. I have been sinking into I-need-to-blog-but-cannot-concentrate quicksand. Sheesh!
  • On rare days when my writing brain triumphed over fidgeting body and I sat determined at MacBook, fingers have danced across the keyboard, writing the penultimate chapter of my novel. You see, this is the confession: I have been cheating on you with my novel. You are both lifelines in ‘My Write Life’ but this novel keeps demanding I bring it to the boil, that I set each page alight and give readers a mighty fine page-turner. I am determined to complete this so, until my manuscript nets 100,000 words, you and me and the novel-in-progress must work together as a happy threesome.

Perhaps other bloggers sometimes feel this way?

Life can prove distracting. Procrastination is the devil’s work. Creative inspiration sometimes morphs into an elusive or even absent friend. But do hear me, my lovely blog—you are never far from my mind.

Let’s do lunch soon!

My best to you,

Estella x

P.S. As a writer, I am a perpetual magpie who collects images and ideas then ferrets them away for a day when they require an airing. I saved this brilliant comic by Summer Pierre a couple of years ago—I loved her fine cartooning and how adeptly she captured ‘Things I Think Every Day.’ It resonated with me, this daily cycle of life. Today, Summer’s illustration screams a wake-up call in my direction, an urgency to leap out of the daily slog cycle and write. Check out her fantastic Paper Pencil Life blog.

Girl of 100 Lists

Cardboard time capsules prop up books on shelves lining my sitting room walls. My life preserved in boxes, overstuffed with lists—some are vertically-scrawled on torn scraps of paper with names of boys I have kissed and global cities I once upon a time hoped to visit; other lists boast of a more mature woman, meticulously itemising future drygoods purchases, my employment history and a balancing of household bills.

For all negativity propelled at the dysfunction of hoarding, I consider these boxes of perceived clutter to be my treasure of gold.

A reflective list–

  1. Scientific: Educators uphold that each human possesses a natural preference for how they best learn. Does your brain boost when moving your body? Perhaps then you tick the Kinesthetic box. I thrive with words—ideally with the aid of bullet-points on notecards—thus, I am designated a Read/Write learner. I often cite this internationally-recognised morsel of fact as proof that my lifelong addition to list-making is a biological condition—not a quirky habit.
  1. Evocative: I was never a girl who knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. I was always a writer but also painted, danced, studied law and fronted bands. I love this list (attached). I recall the sun-filled afternoon ten years ago when I leaned my red head against that of a charismatic bassist, after he convinced me to belt the blues in his local band, and jotted down set-list ideas. What a mixed-up mixture of tunes! I see ‘Valerie’ there and lurch slightly with sadness for Amy Winehouse; I applaud our aim to perform alternative versions of Dylan and Lou Reed and The Smiths. The band proved a mild success. Then I left. The bassist tragically died of a heart-attack too young. I cast eyes over this list and remember all of this. I revel in memory of the vivacious, vigorous girl of my youth and measure her against who I am now. What would grace my set-list today?
  1. Emotive: I discovered an old To-Do list yesterday on which, amongst seven actions, number six was a prompt to purchase a card for my Uncle David. That is the only item not crossed off on this list. I did not buy the card. David died a month later. The regret in my belly is a shaming, black mass. This was a timely discovery to reflect upon as my mother spoke about her brother recently and I realised the pain of loss shall always lurk within her.
  1. Momento: My lists are precious mementos of spaces where I have reclined with pen and paper, when I expressed a fleeting thought, outlined ingredients and method for a delicious recipe, encapsulated what I ate, whom I loved and what my DIY plans were to redecorate the nearly twenty bedrooms I have inhabited throughout my well-travelled life.
  1. Memento: Remember this Guy Pearce film where his character suffers short-term memory loss every five minutes? As I age, I am him. My memory is fading at speed so I employ post-its daily to squiggle ideas for writing plots and reminders of big events for the day. My fridge is speckled with them.
  1. Moments: Etched in my long-term memory, this vivid day: I am a lean, long-legged twelve year-old girl, coasting on my new ten-speed bicycle in summer sunshine. Clipped to beltloops is a vintage Walkman, into my ears streams a classic Go-Go’s cassette. Belinda Carlisle is singing ‘Girl of 100 Lists’ and, even in that yet-to-fully-blossom body and mind, I feel a connection beyond my years and my small town, affinity to a woman singing about her obsession with lists. To observers, this would strike as an ordinary girl on an ordinary day but that moment was a gift to me. Hell–if an all-girl rock band could make lists sound cool then, by association, I felt that much cooler myself.

Oh, for the love of lists!

 

Estella Lynch,  2017

All writing and original photographs published on my blog are copyright of Estella Lynch and can only be reprinted by my permission.

Outlier: A Writer’s Life or Fictional State of Mind?

Today, I go without food. Stale bread for my boy, the last drops of milk I selfishly steal for my coffee. I need that injection of caffeine or I cannot make the school run–I need it to inject petrol into my eyelids. He will have to go without Rice Krispies today.

I deliver Ritz crackers smeared with peanut butter to his lap, a store-brand box of apple juice as accompaniment. The slim cardboard drink fits awkwardly into his hand. I remember when he would hold his drink with two dimpled hands. I am lost in this reverie of when he was tiny, then retreat to the kitchen, murmuring promises under my breath that soon we shall afford freshly-squeezed juice in see-through bottles, containers that offer you a glimpse of orange pulp creating a pond under the lid. I look at these expensive drinks on shelves in my supermarket and salivate, virtually tasting nutritious sweetness guaranteed to ignite a happy, sunshine feeling throughout my body with each sip. Energy would be restored.

He is licking peanut butter from the crackers. I fix eyes on his silhouette from the kitchen. It’s cold today. I daren’t boil the kettle again for another coffee. The milk is gone anyway. Soon we will afford better juice. How stupid I sound. I should be grateful for being able to give my son breakfast not murmur promises to him. Years of promises to my boy remain a steady, unbroken stream. Undelivered ‘some day we will have’ mantras, spoken to his cherub face. In the corner of the kitchen this morning, shoulder pressed against my fridge, I curl fingers over my eyes. I shield my shame from my boy.

I have tried. Tried my best. I see now that our poverty is easing onto my son’s radar. The other boys have Playstations. They have sleek, shiny bicycles and look forward to holidays in France. I observe his smile weakening as he reassures me that I am the best mother in the world and he is happy. I consciously distance myself from comparing my life now to when I earned a six-figure salary and amassed a collection of over one-hundred pairs of stilettos and practical pumps for work.

I curse the decisions I have made to render us into this place. I hold firm affirmation that the big break I need to regain my footing in life is lurking behind a cunningly disguised hiding place around the bend. I dream one day of being discovered. I am determined to write every day and apply for jobs employers ultimately declare me to be too experienced to fill, then my talent as a writer will emerge from this darkening, abridged life of not sleeping and my daily state of ‘just getting by.’

I am hungry. I won’t empty the box of Ritz crackers so there will be a few left to munch on when we have our tomato soup tonight. Soup again. But my boy smiles at this meal: his small but maturing face still crunches up with delight at mealtimes when I serve the heated tin of Campbell’s aside toast topped with circles of ham for eyes, a knob of cheese for a nose and squiggles of bright yellow mustard for a mouth. He still laughs at this, my gorgeous boy. How long will he continue to source joy in my efforts to dress up our bare cupboard with such imaginative folly?

I never cry. Okay, untrue. I cry at silly triggers. Not the obvious ones about my life or personal hopelessness. I cried yesterday when I moved the sofa and trickles of coins littered the floor. The relief! I watched an old man last weekend incite an argument with a group of young boys in the park. They were dropping wrappers and plastic bottles indiscriminately as they munched and gulped along the path, paying no heed to the littered trail that exposed them as culprits. They didn’t care. They don’t care. The old man cared. He spoke up, shaking his walking stick their direction and ordering them to pick up their mess. The stick was a mistake. One lad grabbed the end—not harshly but enough to stop the flailing action and it scared the old man. I watched them lock eyes—two men, one shrunken and silented by the world, the other youthful and brash in his loudness. The young gang then continued on their way, discarding detritus in their wake. The pensioner retreated to the nearest wooden bench. My son continued holding my hand, looking up at me for answers. I cried. Not so much for the old man or the fear of what is happening in our world, where people stomp around dirtying the few public places left for me to bring my child. It costs nothing, an afternoon of kicking a ball around together in the park. I didn’t even cry because how deeply saddened I felt that this is the world my son will inherit. A world of rudeness and entitlement by some who still have not reached the age of shaving their pimply faces. And it was not a big cry, so do not worry that my son witnessed any outdoor breakdown by his mother. No, it was a simple cry, over in seconds. A release of grief in a moment of helplessness, a sympatico felt for the old man who similarly inhabits a world where he knows what is right and has a good heart, but he is also silenced and he has then, invariably, been disempowered. Deep in my core, I feel a rage of power rumbling like lava—it’s a determination and knowledge that I have everything I need to propel me and my boy out of this life, towards something better; for now, though, I sat on the park bench alongside the old man, contemplating how to share my voice with the world and consider tactics how to increase its volume. Using my voice, not a cane as weapon.

Like the majority of television-gazers each December, I also weep at John Lewis Christmas adverts. We know these are designed to be emotive, to elicit tears from even the hard-hearted of individuals, yet we fall for the advertising trap. I do. I cry for the images of family portrayed in beautifully-filtered videos: always a mother and father and child experiencing holiday magic in a knife-to-the-emotional-fortress scene where even a dog or penguin or gorgeous garden features. A child wishes for Santa and dreams come true. Yes, it is obvious. I don’t cry then for what my boy and I do not have. I well up. Not because I no longer can afford to shop at John Lewis. Not for my present circumstances, but I weep at the surging attack on my nostalgic sense of when my little-girl-self stood at the window of my grandparent’s house and expelled Christmas wishes with hot breath against cold glass, then traced my finger through the steam to make small pictures my grandmother would have to work hard to remove from the pane.

I am determined not to reach a day when I sit down and tell my son how poor we are becoming. I sold my grandmother’s jewellery last week. The sole possessions left to flog now are my grandfather’s coin collection and the pearls my mother gave me on my sixteenth birthday. But these I want to save for my son. Maybe someday he will hold each cold coin in his hand, as I did decades ago when sat on my grandfather’s lap, running my thin fingers around smooth edges of round and octagonal metallic circles. I have looked into selling this collection and the reward would be next to nothing. This is purely a sentimental hoard. Copper and silver with little value, only precious to me, stored in my closet but I remain hungry.

Perhaps one day my son will love a woman enough to enclasp my strand of pearls around her neck. He might streak his lips near her ear and whisper tenderly that he loves her. She would feel warmth emanating from his body, the warmth that fills his body now, the blood connection he and I once shared when his heartbeat began inside of me. The blood now circulates through his small body, pumping his life in rhythmic beats, nourishing his organs, blood flowing to extremities so his fingers still move and can clutch that juice box and crackers, tie his own shoes and control the telly via remote.

I pray he becomes a man one day who knows he can excel at whatever his passion. I fear my shame will stick to him and diminish his destiny to be a grown up with loving heart and integrity. Despite barriers, I trust I have carved a childhood of learning for him that fortifies his mission to be a human emanating kindness to others and to himself.

My belly is empty. I last ate yesterday morning. My hands tremble as they hover over keyboard. I am mistyping sentences because I lack any source of energy to sustain me. I hear my son watching cartoons in the other room. He is giggling at silly voices of puppets and animated characters.

I will write myself to a better life. I will do this for him, for me.

After an indulgence of soup tonight, I shall write with a steady hand.

[Daily Post]