Last week I wrote about writing as a way of picking up the pieces. This week I spoke to women trying hard to do just that … pick up the pieces of their lives after Covid. Some downsized, some gave up smoking, some joined AA. Some struggle with where do I go from here? and what changes should I make?
I struggle with that, too. Maybe walking through a field with my dog and savoring the intricacy of Queen Anne’s lace along a streambank provides comfort. Like a pair of jeans worn in over time, the daily routine is a writer’s muse. She gets up in the morning, lets the dog out, makes a cup of coffee and puts pen to page. Soon, very soon, she feels, however illogically, that whatever happens, happens … or, at least, the way it’s supposed to.
In the silence of solitude, she thinks maybe she’ll lead a Bible study in the fall, volunteer at a children’s summer day camp (probably not), plan a day for herself (go to Bucks County Playhouse to see a writer’s one-woman show). She always comes back to this business of a woman’s life. She reads a comment on Facebook. A man takes umbrage at a seemingly innocuous suggestion that writing the truth of her story is risker for a woman than for a man. He is outraged by her outspokenness, demands an apology. Aren’t men just as courageous to write their truth?
In the late afternoon, she relaxes in the shade of the umbrella on her deck and reads Women Talking, a novel by Miriam Toews, a Canadian writer reckoning with her Mennonite past. As she reads, she finds reinforcement that this patriarchal thing is ever present. IT always was and will be forevermore. It was there when she was young and it’s still going strong when she’s an old woman. Which gets back to writing and why she writes. Which gets back to answering the questions, where to go from here and what comes next? How can a woman write a woman’s life, the truth of her story? She has a compass and a map from years of living. So, she moves forward without apology, takes the dog for a walk, reads a good book, revels in her life along the writer’s way.