If you had asked me five or six years ago whether our democracy would end up facing an existential threat, I would have said this country is just going through a phase. While I'm dismayed with our nation's current trajectory, this post addresses a completely different type of surprise.
During recent ancestral research, I uncovered tantalizing tidbits that would make good fodder for my writing. The problem is, I haven't figured out what type of project to pursue. Should I focus on one tidbit at a time, or is there a way to throw it all into one larger pot? I'm guessing the former is the way to go; I just need to wrap my head around a plan of attack.
While I contemplate the direction I want to pursue, I continue to unearth more mysteries, including the likely genesis of my interest in writing. After my father's recent passing, I received a box of his belongings that contained a fictional story and a screenplay he'd been working on. Because we'd been estranged most of my adult life, I hadn't known about his writing. However, after poring through the contents of the box, I recalled that in my teens he'd occasionally communicated with me through letters. And I'd responded in kind.
An additional surprising discovery that I pulled from the various creased, yellowing photographs and spiral-bound notebooks was a vaguely familiar orange weather-beaten pamphlet with a birthday poem I'd written for my father. I was probably six or seven when I took several pages of craft paper, folded them in half, and then bound them with knitting yarn looped through three holes made with a hole puncher. As with much of my childhood memories, I don't remember writing this poem, and I have only a hazy recollection of designing the card. But it apparently held special significance for my father given that he'd held on to it for decades.
Seeing that birthday card triggered my recall of another project I'd put together back in college when I was enrolled in a Children's Literature class. At the time, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, so I designed an illustrated kiddie book about the digestive process using animated fruits and vegetables as my characters. I remember my instructor asking about the scientific soundness of my details. I'd done my research, and I was emphatic about its accuracy.
So here I am, decades later, contemplating the idea that my interest in writing started well before I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But I'm not yet done with the surprising discoveries. I recently unearthed a genealogical connection to a writing legacy that gives new meaning to the phrase "born to write." But as with any good suspense, I'm going to end this blog with a chapter break of sorts and leave you hanging. I'm hoping you'll return next month to learn the nature of this latest discovery because it's sure to wow you like it did me. For now, I'll provide this tantalizing hint:
"Lord we know what we are but know not what we may be." (From Shakespeare's "Hamlet" spoken by Ophelia.)
See you next month!