“You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted. Begin again the story of your life.”
Writing a brief bio yesterday for a short-short I’m getting published in the literary magazine I edited (and printed on the letterpress, long spring evenings with frogs and campanile bells) my senior year of college, I had to consider, distill, the story of my life. I’ve written thus and so; I work someplace I used to like where I’m not valued anymore and am losing sight of myself; I travel whenever I can, though less than I would like. Ifs, ands, and buts.
But I can start it anywhere I want. Begin again. Choose any opening, and go from there. What freedom is there, in those words, that realization!
In spring, I write, instead of snatching Lean Cuisine at my desk, I walk out in my purple suede shoes along the shaded street with rose gardens and up the hill where the street ends, to look out to the bay and across it, to salt marshes where shore birds walk on long spindly disjointed legs.
And then I write about looking up whitewashed cottages on Crete for sale, traditional stone houses with sea views and roof terraces, arches and turquoise doors. We’ll live there half the year, wear espadrilles, grow eggplants (what the Greeks call “garden eggs”), walk everywhere, grow lean and fit and burnished by the sun.
Or instead I’ll write down the menu of tea and scones for my bright-painted gypsy caravan which I’ll park outside libraries, among the seasonal produce at farmers’ markets, in the parking lots of sad big corporations with no spirit of their own.
I write a page of quotes on meditation, finding inner peace in writing words by hand in fine-lined notebooks, for the retreats I will give—in places with tall eucalyptus, orchards, red earth bluffs. Hearing but letting go the hum of cicadas, the sound of summer rain on the tin roof. I’ll learn to heal, I write, to rub massage oils into protesting muscles, and will smell eternally of lavender and white angelica, blue cypress, balsam fir.
I don’t forget to write about how I’ve been going everywhere on a green bicycle, the color called woodland fern 5, sporting a woven willow basket; with a vintage cloche hat keeping my long hair from the wind.