October 10, 2009

A Search

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

I have half a dozen spiral-bound notebooks around the house. They are mine. There has never been a formal announcement, but everyone knows. I write down to-do lists, project needs, phone numbers, recipes. And I write down anything of note, any thought, any event, a dialogue for a novel, a point I want to make, figure out the words.
I was looking for something this morning and came across this entry. I had just spent the first week in a quiet house... my youngest had started all-day kindergarten, the house was clean, everything was (for the first time in years) checked off my to-do list. I had picked up my seldom read copy of works by William Wordsworth. Questions weighed heavily on my mind. What am I supposed to do... be? What do I do with my "talent"? Do I go to school? Do I go to work? Do I have more to do than my kids? If I did, I wanted to find it. Despite my gratitude for being able to be home all these years, I was very frustrated. Lost. I read this:


"If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,
Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,
Shine, (Krista)! In thy place,
and be content..."

"These words struck like lightning, and my tears broke, startling me as I read them.
How am I to shine? I feel the light, but it is held within, without escape. Is it foolishness to pursue release... as if to swallow the moon whole, so that its light shines out my eyes and fingertips, like Jimmy describes in It's a Wonderful Life?
I wish to shine... and be content."

Only a few weeks later, I joined a new writer's club, and started my first book, Sudden Storms and Sunlight. It's a real story. Truth. Three rejection letters and five and a half fiction novels later, I am still working on Comes The Sunlight (the title has evolved) and it will probably be the most important thing I have ever written.
Am I content? No. And that is good.
But, I am content with the direction I have been given. Something more to do... to be.

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