“The Writing Room”


It was quiet. The morning’s summer sun flooded the staircase as the woman slowly walked up the steps leading to the attic. Imagining the room before she opened the door, she felt happy. She was finally going to start this project that she thought was only in her dreams. She finally set aside time and was determined to begin to make her dream of having a serious place to write come true. In her dreams she saw it all so clearly… The heavy old well oiled desk filled with lots of drawers and dents and hidden compartments that sat in front of the beautiful bay window overlooking the tree tops, as the little brook below sparkled as it jumped over the stones in the creek-bed below. The birds chirped and flew among the branches, dipping down from time to time to splash in the little brook to get a drink.

The floor was refinished with rustic old barn wood and the wall to wall shelves were filled with books. Of all genres, classics, and every other book about writing that you might imagine. The comfy over stuffed leather swivel chair sat in front of the desk. Her laptop, sat open and waiting for her as a fireplace consumed the other side of the room with an overstuffed window seat and throw placed just so.

Her imagination danced as she opened the door. She immediately was met with the musty scent of memories. It wasn’t a bad smell, kind of like when you take a whiff of a very old book, it is hard to explain just how great of a smell that truly is. Eyes still sparkling, she left the door ajar and surveyed her task at hand, only to be met with the reality of what really was behind the door… She did not see her beautiful writing room waiting for her to pen her first novel, instead she was met with boxes and boxes and more boxes, and stacks and stacks of books and old trunks all filled with things her family had accumulated throughout the years. Some marked with  names of her children, others of her and her husband. Some had names written across the tops or sides of them, of what was supposedly inside.

She looked at the place where her daughter had started helping her several years ago when she first shared her idea of making the attic a study to use for writing. Everyone was extremely helpful at first, promising to help clear out their own boxes. But now, several years later, nothing had been cleared out. It did look as if her daughter might have made an attempt at one time, and now it looked like a story standing still, as if her young daughter had been abruptly called away to go live her life. She smiled as she looked at a place where she once started to organize things. One pile might have been a “keep” pile and another, a “throw away” or” give away” pile, she was not sure.

Everyone was happily living their lives, consumed by their own busy schedules which truly made her happy. She side stepped the piles of teddy bears and books and kneeled down to unlatch a trunk among all the others. Not sure what she would find. The woman lifted the lid that she’d written her name on a lifetime ago. She dusted her palm across her name, as she read “Keri” in curvy round cursive that she almost remembered writing all those years ago. All at once, she was transported back into another time as if finding a time capsule. She lifted old loose photographs, and shifted a stack of yearbooks from every year on the floor beside her. She was just ready to thumb through the first one when something caught her eye. It was a box inside the trunk with packing tape securing each end. In big black marker letters it read PRIVATE with warnings of not to open, scrawled in her own youthful handwriting.

She sat with the box in her hands. So unlike the girl, who had packed that box away decades ago. She thoughtfully frowned and then slowly reached for some scissors and snipped through the aged tape easily. Inside, she discovered what she might describe simply as history. On top of everything she found her diary, still locked shut, but how silly, a key hung from the lock. She laughed quietly as she remembered always faithfully locking it and then hiding it with the key still attached.

She took the key and unlatched the little lock. As soon as she saw the familiar handwriting she felt a sadness as she remembered writing and the feelings of love and heartbreak and confusion that consumed her during that time of her life. The time when writing helped her survive, and it inspired her to go through the boxes and finally give herself that place to write, a place to tell her story.

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Finishing the Book


I am taking a chance by sharing this… but I’ve always believed that all stories worth  telling need to be written~ And hopefully,  you won’t judge me too much….

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When I started writing my book almost a decade ago, it had been inside of me for over thirty five years. Without ever really realizing it, I think it started out as a kind of therapy of my own.  It is about a young girl,  who finds herself  twisted inside a very emotionally abusive relationship and the woman she becomes because of her past. It is a work of fiction with a bit of my own reality woven throughout the story. My premise for the book was to shout out a message to vunlerable young girls about not losing themselves in the process of finding their dreams.

I think that I did a good job in teaching my daughter that lesson without the help of my finished book. She was the recipient of all the material I would eventually write down, the template I would use as my guide.  My goal in teaching my daughter to not lose herself was first on my bucket list. And I believe I did a good job. She is now educated in what she is passionate about, with a degree, and continuing her education, she owns her own business and is working towards her acting aspirations. And she is in love with a wonderful man who I believe she will marry someday, but never once did she stop living who she was to love him.

If my story can help other young girls not make the same mistakes that  I did then I have to tell it.  You see, when I was going through my version of hell back then, there was nothing out there telling me that other boyfriends were also hitting and controling  their girlfriends. Not that, THAT would have made it okay but I think I would have had a softer place to fall. I did not feel that it was the kind of thing you share with your family or close friends and so I was alone in my agony. Today there are  Oprah-like shows that “teach” you and inform you and pretty much kick your butt into being proactive about living a positive life. At least you  have the information now.

My daughter took a long time in choosing who she would hand her heart over to and I believe that because of my warnings, she really bypassed some of the standard faux pas many young girls have to experience. She doesn’t have to drag that extra baggage of relationships gone wrong, into her life that I have in all the decades that followed, as I blundered my way through several broken hearts since.

Today, I now  find myself in a twenty year marriage and  though everything is not perfect, I think in all of my lessons learned, I finally know that I have made the best choice for me and I am married to a pretty wonderful guy who I may not have fully appreciated,  if I had not experienced the second chapter of my life in the way I have….

Back when we were kids… my first love and I would break up and make up over and over again, a few phone calls back and forth, and we would get back together. We didn’t have emails or cell phones or texting and so breaking up back then was still hard but it must be hell for young people now, with all of the social medias of “friending and unfriending” and labeling ; “In A Relationship” or not.  I can’t even imagine! When it ended  for us the last time, it was horrible and  it was over. After several chance meetings of driving to where he knew I would be and hashing things out over and over again, He finally accepted that I was done and moved on.  He had a whole host of family issues that were far removed from anything I had ever experienced. I wish I had understood it all better back then. He really was a good guy, damaged by his own childhood and the abuse he experienced but it was too much for a young girl to take on, let alone comprehend so it ended badly  but not without first dragging me through the emotional mud that seemed to stay caked all over me for many years to follow.

Fast forward a few decades later, due to today’s technology… he found me again. In-between our broken lives lived, and asked for my forgiveness. I was so caught off guard, we began dialoging, he, looking for forgivness, and I perhaps closure…  My husband hesitantly gave me his blessings (the amazing man he is)  thinking maybe if I could say goodbye the right way, it would help me move on. I even shared some of our messages with my daughter because “he” had kind of been the guy in the lesson I had taught her. Kind of the template of who not to fall in love with. But she knows me oh too well, and became concerned at best  saying… “Mom, it doesn’t sound like he is looking for closure!” If  only I had listened.

I stopped writing my story. It seemed offensive or at the very least, cruel as I got to know the man who once was the boy I loved with all of my heart and perhaps, never really stopped. The flood of memories we shared was like a healing wave that washed over my heart. We became friends,  good friends. We connected.  The forgiveness I felt, was like taking a deep breath and finally being  able to actually feel  the oxygen run through me, as it took on a life all of it’s own. I even started writing my story again. But something didn’t feel right. For one thing, it didn’t stay so innocent for very long…my daughter knew something was up… my smart little chickadee… but like in Bridges of Madison County… it started out that way, so very innocently, I promise.

Fast forward almost two years later…. Marriage counseling and struggling to let go. (which is really hard with all of this dang technology always at our fingertips)

I make no excuses. I won’t even give the stupid ole’ devil credit in this one, which is very tempting to do… I know it was a series of dumb choices that I made all by myself. Though it started out innocently enough,  we even attributed our re-connection to God as a miracle of HIS doing.  And maybe, HE did  open up a window for forgiveness and closure but we took more and opened the door to other things not meant to be… As I look back, I see that I do that a lot…take God’s blessings for me and become greedy.   A good lesson for me today, as I reflect.

I know now, that my lesson is a warning to all women out there like me.  I was bored and curious and still terribly, terribly damaged by the past.  I know now more than ever, that hind sight is 20/20  and I realize that my message is not just for the young girls, but for all of us, young and old or  (at least …older… smile.) It is for the ones stuck front and center, smack  in the middle of  their own midlife crisies, the ones dealing with empty nests,  and grieving their youth, and the ones who never really believed in themselves, the ones who need to find a soft place to land and then stand up and take control of their own life and live it! The ones who look at their reflection in the mirror and see a stranger and want to scream out “NOW WHAT?!” But only a whisper comes out. It is to remind you that we all have second chapters, at twenty or at fifty. But it is in our choices and how we handle them that truly tells our story.

I have made some terrible decisions that I regret and yet had some experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It is just an art of knowing which are which. I have been on a wild ride these last few years.  Sometimes, I have hung on for dear life and other times, I almost let go ~ and yet, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it because it has made me become the person I am now;  Still A WORK IN PROGRESS and yet, someone very different.  I have forgiven and been forgiven.  I have gone back and tended to that young girl who once was me, the one I left behind so many years ago. The one who needed me to go back and love again.

And Funny, but it seems as if I have so much more material now,  I don’t even know where to start and so it sits… the four little chapters, waiting to be written. Kind of like me…God is not through with me yet. He is still writing His version of my happy ending if I would stop getting in the way.

Perhaps none of this is something that I could have possibly imagined, let alone penned at twenty.  But ahhh, wouldn’t it have been nice to have learned all those lessons back then?

So that leaves me to where I left off…  The twister….I have been about four chapters short of finishing my story.  Everyday we have a new canvas to begin painting on, a new stage to begin that new dance and a blank page to spill our heart upon….  As I finally figure out how to climb over the last of my baggage, to wrap up the last lesson learned, to let out that breath I have been holding, I look for the words and somehow… I know it will all turn out okay.

I know……….. our marriage will be my happy ending! As for my book…. hmmm… what do you guys think?

I take a deep breath and breathe as my fingers begin pushing those darn keys once again…