Something happened in that room, in the white house, tucked inside the orange grove. There was a low table, shaped to look like a giant pumpkin, where my seven-year old body sat. My toes were deep in olive-green shag carpet, as exotic zoo animals looked on from my bedroom wallpaper. There, I punched away at the manual typewriter before me – caps lock, engaged – writing the story of the miniature mermaid caught in a jar. The title: “A SINGLE PEARL.”
There was no delete key. I knew not of white-out. No, it was a full-on, forward-motion, metal-and-ink, telling of the evil man who trapped a mermaid, and her inevitable and clever escape. Words found their way from my imagination to silver keys that clanked black ink on textured paper. Enraptured by the rapid impressions of letters to page, I was unswerving in my mission with the Muse.
The experience, so visceral, that I can still recall the unusual sensation of hovering above my chair, as if I were levitating. A tingling lightness coursed through my being as I typed. Each tapped key punctuating the perfection of that moment. All was aligned and right. And though the sense of floating out of my pumpkin table chair was a little ‘other-worldly’, it felt refreshingly familiar and quite real. This. This was it. This was good stuff.
Even though my mom was busy with three children under the age of eight, she took notice of my writing and gifted me a legal-sized accounting book as a journal. My entries began in 1982, with sporadic spells of prolific chronicling and expansive gaps of silence. By 1995 I was 21 and writing with much more frequency, eventually signing off on the last page of my beloved journal, gifted to me thirteen years prior.
Today, I have storage bins full of the hardbound journals that followed over the next fifteen years. Long before the internet, it was just me with pen and paper. My journals were my touchstones. They were often collaged with random photos on the cover, filled with sketches, sometimes holding pages pressed with wildflowers or feathers. These books were markers of an era. My archives.
By my late thirties, I’d warmed to computers and made friends with technology. I especially saw the value of the internet as it connected me to a world that was so distant from the remote Hawaiian island where I lived. Based on the premise that if you do something for 40 days in a row it creates a habit, I decided to commit myself to writing in the public sphere on a blog I titled “For the Archives.”
I was a single mother, raising a six-year old boy on my own, facing the challenges of rent, groceries, work, loneliness, and downright overwhelm. In the midst of it all, I was trying to remember, that one day, I may look back and wish I’d had more appreciation for all the messiness of life with love and motherhood.
Still, I wondered if it was worth my while to write, publicly, about the experience of sorting through my junk drawer. What I concluded was that if a junk drawer was what I had to work with, I might as well try to glean some beauty, seek some metaphors, and share it. So I wrote about ordinary details, then tried to see them in new light. After 40 days of posting, I didn’t want to stop.
That was over three years ago. Since then, nearly 750 posts have been written to the Archives. My son is close to turning ten. Now, I even have a husband.
The truth is, despite the challenges of that first year of blogging on the Archives, it was a precious time. I’m grateful it’s recorded. From broken hot water heaters, to heartbreak, to Lego action figures, I followed some kind of thread. As I felt my way through the unknown, looking closely at the most mundane helped me to find sparks of the profound.
I’ve combed the Archives from that first year and created a collection of prose, poetry and photography that chronicle my experiences during that time, as a woman, a mother, and an artist. Volume 1: Love and Motherhood, is the first in a series that is now available in the Kindle store on Amazon. If you’ve enjoyed reading the Archives, this compilation distills some of the best of that initial year.
I look back in time at my seven-year old self in my bedroom at the pumpkin table, hovering above green shag. I wonder at that feeling, sparked by the experience of imagination moving into letters, forming into words, and then tapping on to a page. What did I know then?
And what do I know now?
That I love a good story. That I want to remember the magic that weaves through all the daily details. That I wish for all our greatest dreams to come true.
We all have our pearls. This book is one of mine.
I hope you enjoy!
For those without a Kindle, you can still read the book by downloading a free Amazon app that lets you read on your Mac or PC, your phone, your tablet, or even your web-browser.
Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771