Saturday, February 10, 2024

A State of Yearning


Twenty years ago, I was published in Margo Perin's wonderful anthology. My story about my late mother sat alongside the essays of some truly brilliant writers including Paula Fox, Jamaica Kincaid, Vivian Gornick, Joyce Maynard, and Alice Walker.

I stood at the precipice of literary stardom as I imagined this would lead to a big book deal and all the rich rewards of working hard and never, ever giving up.

Truth is, I've always been a bit of a dreamer and perhaps a little confused. Many of my writerly friends have handily hustled past me, swinging open doors. And once inside the house, they removed their muddy boots and rightfully took a seat at the table piled high with Guggenheims, New York Times bestsellers, residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, inclusion in Best American Short Stories, and National Book Awards. All those yummy desserts and rich rewards.

For the past fifteen years I've been living in the country of commercial nonfiction and lifestyle self-help books. It's taken me this long to realize that my wandering outside the house has been my own choice and that I enjoy being known as the French Girl Advice book author. However, behind the scenes, I've stealthily built a side gig for myself. This side gig? It's called a novel, because I've never forgotten who I am. 

Creative Friends--This is what it's like to live in a state of yearning. You stand outside in front of the closed door looking in through the steamy window. You inhale the aroma of the stew simmering in the kitchen. You're hungry and yet you don't mind waiting as that hungry grows.

And then, one day you realize that the door has never been fully closed. And it's not even locked.

Your prompt for this week is to re-look at your life's art and consider the possibility that all those things you've created are not lost. Those paintings and stories, those songs and creations--they have not gone anywhere--they are just simmering and all you need to do is add a few spices and turn up the flame. 



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