Retro: The Writerly Review, June 10-16

Wordle # 60

It’s been a busy week at The Writerly Life, kicking off with The Sunday Wordle: June 10, a wordplay exercise based on the wordles (word lists, if you want the plain version) at The Sunday Whirl. This week’s list whispered an eerie little story to me–“All Fall Down.” I couldn’t leave the story alone, so Follow-up to the Sunday Wordle, June 10 contains a revised version. It seems to want to be a longer story!

Esther Bradley-DeTally graced The Writerly Life on this week’s Monday Discovery with a lovely guest post about being a twin and also about mortality. Esther will have you teary and laughing at the same time! Find more of Esther’s whimsical, poignant, straight-talk writing at Sorrygnat, World Citizen. Thanks again, Esther! What a pleasure to have you here.

catch

At a Loss for Words: June 12: A beachy slideshow of my favorite place to go and wind down, write, read, watch glorious sunsets.

On Thursday, It’s a Wonder-filled World gave you, I hope, a glimpse of wonder. Since my thirteen-year-old granddaughter figures prominently in this one, maybe I’ll ask her to follow up with a guest post about her first trip to New York. She can handle that assignment, I assure you!

I was delinquent last week re the Weekly Photo Challenge, but this week’s was one I knew I could tackle. Check out the Weekly Photo Challenge: Close for my interpretation of “close.” Too close for comfort!

So there you have it: the week in review here at The Writerly Life. I hope you enjoyed dropping by. I hope you’ll be back soon!

It’s a Wonder-filled World

My third-born son and his daughter are off on an adventure this week. They are in New  York City to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. He decided a couple of years ago, when his oldest turned thirteen, that he would take each child (there are four of them) on an “adventure of choice” for that special birthday–just Dad and Kid. His son chose a rafting trip in Georgia and a Braves game. Pretty easy. Doable. A Guy Thing.

NYC

It’s a Wonderful Town!

When he asked his daughter back in the spring where she wanted to go for her birthday, she said, in her lovely, a-bit-melodramatic way, “Oh, Dad! I want to go to New York!” He was more than a little taken aback, I expect, but he’s worked hard to pull this trip together–a special time with a special girl who’s growing up fast. They do that, you know, these children and grandchildren. They seem to go from floor-walking  nights to terrible twos to first grade to “Where are the car keys?” overnight.

My son sent me a text message right after they landed in NYC. “She’s freaking out!” he wrote, which about says it when you’re in that city for the first time. They’ll see a play or two, take in the Metropolitan Museum, MOMA, and Central Park, Strand Books, and do some of the usual sightseeing.

Mostly, she’ll see a world that’s very, very different from hers, even though she’s spent most of her young life in Atlanta and Memphis–cities, but not cities in the sense of New York. Not colossal. Not stupendous. Not larger than life. I expect, knowing her sweet, caring nature, that she’ll be disturbed by the street people. That’s a hard dose of reality, but I hope, I pray it won’t overwhelm her wonder. Maybe it will become part of her vision of what her life can and will be, of how she can make a difference.

What a birthday! What a gift is wonder, tenuous and rare and without price.

But wonder is something we grownups often lose along the way. Disappointments, failures, loss, illness, betrayals–the big doses of reality keep our eyes to the ground, not like we’re looking up at the Manhattan skyline in amazement. I remember that feeling. I wasn’t thirteen the first time I saw the big city. I was in my twenties, but my “freaking out” was much like this child’s. Somewhere along the way, though, I forgot to keep looking up.

Re-discover Wonder!

Granddaughter Lucy at three

So here’s a tip for you, if you’re mired in child-rearing and work and housework and tending to elderly parents, if you’ve got your nose to the grindstone and don’t think you have time to look up. This applies especially to my writer friends who, regardless of age and stage, struggle to fit the writing into a “life happens” schedule.

It’s possible to re-discover wonder. You find it in the smallest things: hummingbirds hover at the feeder; something you’ve planted takes off and grows, blooms, yields fruit; music gives you goosebumps; the waves just keep on pounding the shore, timeless and immeasurable. You find it in your children (or your grandchildren), when you see reflections of yourself and their parents and your own parents, generations come together to make these remarkable individuals. You imagine their lives years from now, who and what they may become. It’s wondrous. Miraculous, really. And that’s just the real-life side of wonder.

Wonder on the Page

There’s wonder, too, when the voices come in your head and you put words on the page. When you re-create your own life experiences. When you make characters, lives, places, worlds. When you make the stuff of poetry. When you read your words aloud, new words that didn’t exist before you put them together just that way, and really hear them. Wondrous. Yes.

This child, my granddaughter, has the writer genes, for sure. She reads voraciously. She acts, she sings, she writes poetry. I encouraged her to take a journal with her on this trip. I’m hoping she’ll share some of her observations–her words–with me.

So happy birthday, Granddaughter. Life is wondrous indeed. It’s nice to be here.

Today, look up. Discover something wondrous in your world. Write about it. Read it aloud and hear your own voice. Tell me about it here.

Sunday Wordle: June 10

Here’s my Wordle exercise for this week, words courtesy of The Sunday Whirl. Maybe this is the beginning of a short story . . .

Here are the words: bluffs, willow, corona, brush,  trembled, mud, crawl, vessels, nail, stain, shadows, stones

All Fall Down

Shelly and Hank had planned the camping trip as an attempt at getting back together. It wasn’t working. He’d been late picking her up, the traffic had been terrible, and when they finally found a space to camp, they’d argued over where to set up the tent.

She’d walked off and left him. “All right, fine. You deal with it,” she’d said and headed for the bluffs.

The bluffs dropped steeply away to the river, maybe fifty feet. Willows clung to the banks and leaned out into the sky like filmy, green parachutes. Shelly walked as near the edge as she dared and considered climbing down. She had always wanted to do it; why not now? She looked for a place that wasn’t such a sheer drop, where there was brush or outcroppings of stones. She eased over the edge, grabbed a sapling, then another, until one snapped and she slipped and slid, clutching at mud and rocks and branches, and fell headlong to the bottom. She landed in the shallows and caught hold of a branch that kept her out of the rushing river. She lay there, stunned and trembling. She took stock: the knees of her jeans stained with blood and her nails torn and caked with mud where she’d clawed her way down.

Falls, Hambidge, north Georgia

Her ankle hurt. She didn’t think she could stand. “Hello?” she yelled. “Hank? Anybody?” But it was late in the day. The bluff cast deep shadows on her and on the river. She crawled toward a sandbar that extended out into the water. She’d be more visible from there. But there were no signs of life above or on the river. The picnickers would long since have packed up and gone home. No vessels—an old-fashioned word her father, a retired Navy man, would have used—this time of day, no kayaks or canoes. Everybody with any sense would be camping downriver by now, or docked and sunburned and on their way home. She looked up at the rising moon and its corona of light. That was supposed to mean something: a sign of rain? Bad luck?

This wouldn’t do. She had to get up and move. She stood, tried her weight on the throbbing ankle, and knew she couldn’t climb. She crawled back to the shelter at the base of the bluffs and leaned against the bank.

She fought panic. She’d be fine, she told herself, just a little banged up and wet, nothing a good bath wouldn’t fix, and hadn’t she gotten herself into this anyway?

Hank would come looking for her. All she had to do was wait.  ###