a Handwritten essay…

I could hardly believe, after all these years, that we were back in touch. Yet there it was, that cherished name from years past, on the glowing monitor before me. Jon and I had become friends lifetimes earlier. Nothing in particular had changed – other than the circumstances under which we had met. After a brief and bright few years at the same college, our association didn’t survive the normal relocations for other schools and jobs. 

An observation of his back then was that friendship is largely a function of time and place. I bristled at the sentiment at the time, still of the mind that a true connection will outlast them. Occasionally it does, but far more commonly, even deeply resonant attachments dissipate when conditions shift. Long experience has me now agreeing with my old friend.

Look there, I called him “my old friend.” That remains true regardless of whether we’d have reconnected. Now that we have, it’s even sweeter to think of him that way. As for his assertion about friendship, as I’ve come to echo it I’m all the more thankful for the exceptions. It’s become clear too that it’s hard to tell at the outset; I’ve been mistaken more than once in speculating which ones will last and which might fade away.

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The dark tales we carry…

I haven’t been one to publish posts related to Halloween, and this year was obviously no exception. 

Now that we’re a few days into November though, it occurs to me that an allegory I wrote some months ago might mesh well with such themes. 
I wrote it as part of working through an old trauma whose effects unexpectedly rearose. The tale follows a common mythical style complete with building suspense and an abrupt resolution.

As with past allegories I’ve written, some symbolic elements are deliberate, others unintentional — discovered only later to my startlement. Still others remain mysterious even to me.
The darker tone reflects what it can be like to confront past harmful experiences we thought we had resolved or had convinced ourselves we’d successfully got beyond. 

Even though I’m leaving the deeply impacting real-life scenario unrecounted, I hope its allegorical expression offers readers a relatable and satisfying encounter. 

***

Once there was a curious young woman. 

She thirsted for knowledge, and she was open-hearted toward others. 

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The authentic facade…

(from meadpl.org)
(from meadpl.org)

The public library in my hometown was among my favorite buildings to visit as a little girl. Leading up to its grand entryway were smooth steps from either sidewalk direction; I can still hear the soft tss-tss-tss of my little soles landing and sliding a smidge at each rise. The opposing sets of stairs met at a platform facing the enormous doors, and the imposing limestone edifice welcomed me into its world of literary delights like a stern grandfather with a playful heart. 

When I was in my teens, it was razed in favor of a new structure a few blocks away. But the destroyers left standing the great limestone facade which still adorns that block forty-plus years since, now surrounded by rejuvenated green space. 

An old friend once opined that leaving the fragment behind seemed silly to him. I could not see it more differently. To me, it is a brilliant gesture of admiration for an architectural exemplar of that era, as well as a connection to childhood. The sun is always shining in my memories of those library visits, and a glimpse of the gray face still warms the little girl in me. 

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Am I asking a question?…

That thinker doesn’t look very comfortable. 
Leaning back in a rocker — now that’s my preferred contemplation pose, knitting needles clacking or netbook keys tapping.

Thinking about thinking, writing about writing, posing quandaries, positing solutions. 
That’s some of what i had in mind when i conceived of this site years ago, in particular with the Ruminations tab. 
To me the term has always had an agreeable association with “a reflective thinker characterized by quiet contemplation” [Free Dictionary].

For obvious linguistic reasons, i recently wondered if there could be a relationship to the thirteenth century Persian poet Rumi. As fitting as that might be, the theory apparently has the lamentable disadvantage of not being rooted in fact. 

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Analogies are like…

That’s it, end of quip.

I thought of it as i was considering what writing is like, and what this year has been like.
Writing is gazing back and forward at the same time.

The raw material of experience and imagination forms an idea… 
In shaping that idea for an audience, i’m looking ahead toward how the past-birthed notion might connect with the reader.
Even if i am its only reader, my future self usually takes something fresh from rereadings of past private expressions. 

Personal essay writers and bloggers perpetually distinguish between the “I” and the “we” to decide which of our thoughts to impart. 
Two kinds of intimate writing i bristle at…
Starting too many sentences with the phrase (or attitude), “We all…” 
Or starting too many sentences with “I” — if they end without drawing me in. 

The question is, What makes any one person’s thoughts of interest to another?

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