I've been silent for a long time and, if you ask why, I can tell you in a single word. PACKING.
Rick and I have lived in our home for 17 years, a record for both of us and we have the "stuff" to prove it. Now that we are moving, we are forced to confront those boxes we stuffed in the basement and the attic so many years ago, thinking we would get to them later, when we had more time. Does anybody ever have more time?
We have cleared the attic and disposed of as much junk as possible out of the basement. I have discovered treasures such as my father’s Army uniform and my mother’s Red Cross uniform. They met at Fort Bragg when my dad came home from World War II and were later married in the Chapel on post. They have both been gone for more than 15 years and it caused a tug at my heart to unearth these reminders.
I also found things I cannot believe have been saved for so long, including a letter to my grandfather from some public safety “official” in Florida reporting that the dog which had bitten him while he was on vacation had been released “in good health.” The letter was dated November of 1961. I have no idea why we saved it or what it was doing in my basement.
When I finished my last job for the school year, a day of Professional Development for teachers in Braxton County, WV, I decided I needed to set a goal for the summer, so the move did not completely consume my life. I vowed to write every day with the target of having a completed first draft of a new novel by the day we move. So far, I’ve managed to stay on schedule. Some days it’s pretty tense and there have been days when the final work for a given day was not completed until after midnight. But, having this daily "assignment" saves my sanity and keeps me engaged with my characters and their journey. I can tell you with complete honesty, that there have been days when escaping into the world of my novel has been a welcome refuge from the other work required on that day. Did I mention how many boxes of books I’ve packed?
I have reached the point where I celebrate the discovery of a box of something which has been rendered completely obsolete by the passage of time. Fifteen year-old highway maps, for example. Hooray! These require not one scintilla of thought or emotion. I can toss them (recycle, actually) with abandon. What a relief.
Most discoveries are far more complicated. This afternoon’s find, for example – a poem written by my cousin when she was in grade school. My aunt had apparently sent it to my father years ago and he had saved it in a special leather box he kept on his desk. This one’s a keeper. I'm going to send it to her today. It’s a lovely poem. I want to know when she wrote it.