sad stories are necessary.

...sad words are just another beauty. a sad story means, this storyteller is alive. the next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile. {little bee, chris cleave} i finished my manuscript last monday.

i started it four years ago after a statement made by a professor in grad school stuck with me. i remember that moment distinctly: i had to pull out paper and start writing down my thoughts because i knew there was something there. i went home and fleshed out 2000+ words.

and then it sat on my computer for two years.

two years is a long time. there were a lot of ups and downs in those two years - a lot of brokenness over students and frustrations with my own life. it was also in those two years i felt myself come alive from the inside. thanks to some ordinary radicals, russ & i began to understand what it meant to walk like giants in a world where so many choose apathy. we set our shoulders straight, took a collective breath, and jumped head first into life - regardless of how ridiculous it sounded.

like moving into a two bedroom apartment so we could take in a 16 year old girl we considered our surrogate daughter.

or traveling to north carolina for a camp centered on social justice with someone we only knew through a conference and phone calls.

or quitting a job to fly to boston in order to drive to harrisburg to richmond to chicago - all in the name of Love.

and then finally landing in austin and entering into a whirlwind of a roller coaster ride complete with strangers crashing on our couch, two trips to africa within a year, and falling asleep to our "son" practicing flips and dance moves in our spare bedroom upstairs.

so last week, when i wrote the last word in my book and i stopped - realizing everything was finished - i realized living is so essential to creating. i thought back to the hard parts of the past few years - the moments where i didn't think i could get out of bed. for the longest time i didn't think the words were in me, that somehow grief sucked all the good things out and left nothing in its wake. but in january, when memories hit me like a freight train, i learned sometimes - most times - beauty comes from shining the light in my dark spaces.

this is hard but i know putting the pen to paper is essential in keeping my sanity - because between letting the ugly out and keeping it in, i know which one serves me better. even if i have to close my eyes while writing the words for fear of seeing the ugliness on page, getting the words out is the beauty. and processing - allowing the rhythm of my muse to take over and speak - creates an understanding of my surroundings and the Divine. i'm reminded He is here, holding my heart in His hands, protecting me from tripping over the words left unspoken.

sad stories are necessary. how else do we remember where we've come from and what we've escaped? how else are we able to remember we're not alone? my story isn't a happy one but it ends with hope. my main character goes through things we'd rather not speak about even though we know it exists. and in the corner of our memory, we remember: we know this feeling. we know her struggle of self-worth. we know her fighting because she's us. and suddenly we see her persistence to watch the sunrise as gut-wrenching and courageous because she still believes in new beginnings and we know how hard it is, in moments of despair, to cling to that promise of a new day. to me, this is the way it has to be - the beauty in the midst of chaos and pain and the reminder that Rescue, even if seemingly invisible, is closer than our sighs of anguish. and to me, there's nothing more beautiful because the sighs of anguish and the plea for Rescue remind us we're alive.

 

 

Posted on May 18, 2011 and filed under imperfect prose.