May I share a little personal story here with you few readers?
Perhaps you may understand why I struck match into flame two weeks ago and burned to ash the little piece of paper written by my 12-year-old self. The young girl carefully folded this paper, tinier and tinier, and yes, even tinier, and placed it inside the confirmation heart locket in March, 1970.
She wore the locket close to her heart as she veered toward teenage mascara, parties, angst and a first kiss.
She wore the confirmation locket with that secret fierce desire–I WILL be a writer. I carry this for proof--as she typed steadily, daily, allowing stories and poems to wind up through the ethers into her manual typewriter.
Teenage days blossomed into other desires, including dreams of this boy and that boy and what about that boy? and the locket disappeared into the depths of the dresser drawer, half-forgotten.
Yet the locket followed the newly married college graduate up into the woods, up north past the five-mile bridge, up into the land of boulders and trees and howling lake winds.
Writing appeared, yes, always, scribbles in journals in between baby at the breast and shoveling snow. Poems danced. Stories sang. A book or three birthed, but lay gathering dust on the shelf. Words comforted. But a writer? A real writer? She didn’t feel one, but did it matter any more?
Four or five years ago the now-grown woman discovered blogging and began to write, write, write profusely. She wrote with a passion attempting perhaps to appease the little girl who wanted. it. so. much.
Words spilled like grapes from harvest bowls of creativity.
Words sprouted like dandelions, sometimes worshiped, sometimes mowed in weedy despair.
Words taught, grimaced, moaned, fell on their syllabled knees.
Paragraphs punctuated, tossed, turned, went crazy, oo la la!
Stories told everything, or pretended to tell everything, and poems hinted at Eternity, or pretended they divined Eternity, because who among us fathoms the infinite?
Two weeks ago I finally, reverentially, lovingly, gathered the little golden tarnished locket from oh-so-many-years ago and clutched it in an older hand, a different hand, a hand wrinkled with stories, and whispered, “Are you satisfied yet? You’ve had oh-so-many readers of your words, are you satisfied yet? What do you need to be satisfied, to call yourself a writer, to let it go?”
Because, dear reader, I do not want to be a writer any more.
The little girl with her dreams–she doesn’t exist any more.
What do I want, you ask?
I want to be the Empty Locket.
Nothing. Completely empty. The heart wide open, unclasped.
Air. Not even air.
And in that emptiness we perhaps glimpse we’re everything: we’re the locket, the confirmation date 3-26-70, the childhood fervor, the scrawl on paper, the desire, oh the desire, the years of diapers and skating shows and Excel spreadsheets, the million and a half words, the readers, the eternal gratitude, the match, the flame, the burning, the ash, the emptiness, oh, the fullness of it all, the sacred unspeakable word-less fullness.
I don’t want to be a writer, dear heart.
I want the entire world, the open clasp of it, the endless song, words appearing or departing as they desire–as THEY desire–not me, the breath of God, the poetry of Rumi, the love of Jesus, the meditating yogi, the crying child, the hungry, the drum of a woodpecker, oh, no, let’s limit it no longer.
Everything, everything, you child of the universe–that’s what you are.
Don’t wear yourself in a too-small heart. Open it and be the destiny you dreamed before birth compartmentalized and confirmed you. All of it, heart, simply all of it.