On Monday night Lacuna Loft’s Unspoken Ink fall session began. . The two pieces below are my writings from that session. Sometimes I forget the power of words, written and spoken. The object of the writing workshop is to write from the top of your head in the whole time allotted. As I was writing, By Heart I didn’t realize the emotions attached to the words I’d written but as I read it out loud to the group I broke down in tears. There’s so much magic in the art of writing. It allows me to open up and let words flow from my heart and mind; words I didn’t know were there until I sit down with pen in hand.
By the Numbers, was inspired by another writer’s response to the first prompt. I was struck by her use of the word grace in terms of walking and dancing. I used grace in terms of God’s grace in my second piece. I didn’t know where I was going with the number I’d chosen (8) until I started writing. While I was writing I assumed it was going to be me complaining in list form, but it became so much more; more than I knew about myself until it was there on the paper.
These Unspoken Ink workshops are so amazing and so good for me. They allow me to sit down and just write without overthinking everything and getting stuck in my head. They are freeing and so cathartic.
By Heart and By the Numbers are below.
By the Heart
Her pink hair flying in the wind, pedaling like hell to keep up, Annie thought,” It’s just like riding a bike my ass!” Sweating and puffing, cursing herself for believing Amelia this would be easy. Maybe it had been easier, maybe it had been easier 100 pounds, 30 years, and two cancer diagnoses ago but it definitely wasn’t now. “Who thought this was a good idea? What was I thinking?” She knew the streets by heart, past the church where they were married, past the pizza shop where he worked, past the front steps of her parents’ house where he kissed her for the first time. Puffing and sweating, crying hot, salty, bittersweet tears of loss and longing. She knew this place, these streets by heart, this was home. Her pink hair flying, her broken heart pounding, sweat pouring down her back; she pedaled, because, it was just like riding a bike.
I took this photo in 2016 on the day I found out I was four years cancer free. As it turns out, it was the last time either Chuck or I could say we were cancer free. Chuck was diagnosed eight months later and my recurrence was found five months after Chuck’s diagnosis.
By the Numbers
8 years ago, this all began, 1 trip to the ER, 1 ambulance ride to the hospital that actually had a neuro department, 2 surgeries, 5 days I don’t remember, 1 cancer diagnosis, 10 days in ICU, 3 days in step down, 5 days in rehab, 32 radiation treatments in 8 weeks, 8 more surgeries, and 30 more radiation treatments, 1 dead husband, 1 year watching him die, and somehow, I’ve found my grace. Somehow, I’m more whole and more real. Somehow 8 years of sickness, loss, treatments, and uncertainty has brought me grace, and love, and strength; a life I didn’t know existed, a life I didn’t know I was allowed to have.
8 years, 1 cancer diagnosis, 1 cancer recurrence, 5 deaths, 10 surgeries, 62 radiation treatments, and an uncertain future have not robbed me of my soul. I walk in grace because I’ve walked through fire, questioned and am still questioning my faith, suffered, lost, and picked up the pieces. I am strong because I believe, I am brave because I have faith. I walk in grace because I have all of you.
I am lost…
I am found…
I am still here.