Friday, September 25, 2015

365 Days of Writing | #1 Out of Reach

Wordpress Daily Prompt: Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

Poem by Alfred Austin

She's spent a lifetime striving. Eight-two years to be exact. Reading and writing were not only her passion, but her escape. Many poems, short stories, and novels have gone unfinished and unpublished.

It still haunts her. "You'll never amount to anything if you don't come from behind that book!" her father would yell at her. He needed her hands on the farm. It was just more than he could handle alone. She knows she can no longer blame her father. She's an adult for god's sake. She's been an adult who has made decisions for herself for a very long time. But seeing her name in print and getting the applause for her work that she deserves seems forever out of reach.

Madelaine sits outside her 750 square foot home in her chair swing reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility for the fifth time, all 368 pages of it. She does that--reads and rereads. Escapes. Looking for the sense in her life and living sensibly--for the most part.

While in the garden that she lovingly nurtures, she conjures up characters, lays out landscapes, and has conversations. The herbs of many greens, tomatoes and eggplant, marigolds, trumpet vine, and dahlias all speak to her and she speaks back. Along with her years of varied relationships this is how her stories come to life.

The consummate editor and perfectionist Madelaine is forever pondering, is that the right word or phrase to use in this particular case. It seems the work is never finished. The light of the sun comes and goes as she often sits hunched at the cherry wood table in her sitting room. When she stumbles, she makes lists. Things she should add or delete. New ideas for projects unsung. Writing conferences she wants to attend. What she needs at the grocery store.

Yes, she is always writing, but facing an audience that could love her stories scares the hell out of her. She doesn't realize that though. When asked when are you going to finish those seven novels you've started, Madelaine always answers, "I'm working on them. I'm going to a writer's group this weekend to have the one about the dancers critiqued. I need to choose the poems I want to put into a collection. I have to finish chapter 8 of the historical journal about my great grandfather."

The research phase of writing fascinates Madelaine. She can get lost in a library, on the internet, and talking to people who lived in a period gone by although as she grows older there are fewer she can interview about the past.

As Madelaine contemplates the idea of publishing, she mostly thinks I better get busy. But ultimately she really just enjoys the process of writing. So, although being a published author may or may not be out of reach, her pleasure derived by setting ink to paper is always close at hand. She has friends with whom to share her stories, time to enjoy the outdoors, and a cozy home in which she feels safe. She is happy and has only a slight twinge of regret.

365 Days of Writing: Out of Reach--yesterday's Wordpress Daily Prompt.

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