A place to share my writing, the process of doing so and the part of me that it comes from.
Friday, April 6, 2012
FLOODING (A-Z April Blog Challenge)
“You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. "Floods" is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, what valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory, where the nerves and the skin remember how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our "flooding.”
~ Toni Morrison in The Site of Memory, taken from Inventing the Truth, edited by William Zinsser.
Our basement flooded with significance once and I found it.The stairway was open with no walls or rails on either side and it ended at the center of the basement.Turning on the light at the top of the stairs, my stomach lurched as I headed down and realized the bottom three or four steps vanished into water.I couldn’t resist stepping closer to the water until I reached a point where my dry feet couldn’t go any further and stay that way.Then I looked at the unbelievable lake that surrounded me, staring at the sodden mess, bloated boxes, and the odd items that floated on the surface, scared to venture further.
I knew there was A LOT of work ahead, and felt that clenching in the center of myself that there were things irreparably lost, claimed by the water that rose and found its way into every crevice, appliance, drawer, box and shelf it touched.
I don’t recall how we got the water out.Most likely dad working his magic with a sump pump and borrowing a portable pump from the fire hall.There were mounds of wet laundry to deal with and bags of instant garbage to be tossed.Water logged puzzles, games and books.Food items from the pantry and stacks of magazines.Then came the items truly too sad to lose.Pictures, letters, family genealogy paperwork.Family bibles, marriage certificates and high school diplomas.Papers saved by mom that we did in school and art projects. Some things we managed to salvage, albeit blurry and with curled edges.For weeks we had heaters and fans running on tables in the basement trying to air it out, dry up the walls and floor and salvage what we could.
Water has always had a powerful effect on me.The sheer force of it, whether a small trickle carving out its path in a rock over time or the mighty Niagara Falls (just ten miles from my home) it consistently draws me into its spell. I feel its pressure. The relentless flow.
Writing is the same way.It’s never been easy and I struggle for most every word.Even when I don’t want to do it – when I convince myself to walk away, I feel its pressure.I feel the flooding.
Last fall, I found myself standing on the last dry step, so I made my website.In January, I stepped into the water and started this blog.This month, I can feel the swirling waters with each post as I follow through on the commitment to share a piece of myself with each one. So yes, although the “flooding’s” already begun, I still feel the water rising. I pray for the day, someday, that I might float.