3rd Anniversary

flowersphotoI love markers. Highway markers. Trail markers. Indicators which gauge how far we have come. Milestones worth a nod of accomplishment, a moment of recognition, and certainly a toast with bubbly. Anniversaries are markers; so this, my 3rd Anniversary as Nine Cent Girl, is certainly worth reflection and celebration!

One of my favorite rituals on a birthday is to ask those gathered to share their favorite birthday memory. The stories are as varied as those gathered. On an Anniversary I love to ask a couple how they met. Those first precious dates imprint their unique story. Writers too have worthy beginnings, for some these originate in childhood, but the early twinkling of Nine Cent Girl began during a hot summer while I was in my twenties. 

Decades ago, in a drafty farmhouse, while I was mothering three young children and feeling trapped in a sticky marriage, poetry alone voiced the opposing emotions stirring within me. As time passed, children grew, divorce finalized and I stepped forward. But that original angst, evident in the poem below, serves as a reminder of where my writing began, long before Nine Cent Girl took her first breathe, but where one can spot the foundation stones.

 “Writing Started”

Writing started during a hatefully hot summer
While my three children shifted in and out of the kitchen
Looking for things I alone provided
I took to writing like a boiling kettle steaming words across my page
Writing in metaphor because reality meant divorce

Shifting in and out of the kitchen I looked for something
Packed up the little ones to grand-mama’s
Boarded a plane to Dublin for a three-week writing conference
Wrote in metaphor because reality meant divorce and that I couldn’t bear
Packed only black clothes and wrote in pen

Soaring to Dublin I spied only clouds
The first class my short story lay splattered in red ink on the wooden table overlooking the Green
I wore only black and chain-smoked Carroll’s
Didn’t see the samurai knife the resident poet hid up his sleeve
So enamored by the grassy Green and crawling Dublin
I wasn’t in my kitchen anymore

At the first class copies of my short story lay dissected on a long wooden table
Writing started during a very hot summer
Should have spotted the samurai knife the resident poet held high
But was distracted by the grassy green and double-decker buses
I wasn’t in my farmhouse anymore
I took to writing like a kettle steaming words across my page

After class the women lifted a limp me to the pub to sew together the slices
That poet never lived through a Vermont winter and thought me dramatic
I stomped and struggled to find language the right language
To set the scene to create the mood to synthesize it all
I secretly vowed to never send my words out again

Apparently that poet had never lived through a Vermont winter and thought me overly dramatic
I wrote more and more on a typewriter my younger brother had throw away
Secretly vowed to never send my words out again
Stomped and struggled to find language the right language
Set the scene create the mood synthesize it all

I wrote more and more on a typewriter my younger brother tried to throw away
When words came the rays of heaven burnt through me
By the time my Dublin poet was done castigating my “over-heated” words (his language)
Used as an example of what not to do NOT EVER I came to my senses
Realized that you can travel across a whole ocean and
Still find a man who thinks little of you

Words didn’t always come but when they did I felt the rays of heaven burn through me
Confidence began that night and continued to come
We assured each other we could write we would write
I stomped and struggled to find language the right language
Set the scene create the mood synthesize it all
I sent my words out

From this humble beginning, I tackled short stories and plays, more and more poetry, and essays for local publications. I took workshops and classes, joined writers’ groups, and gave readings. Eventually wrestled a novel onto paper, then another, until, acting on the advice of my dear spouse, I began blogging as Nine Cent Girl, which rose to be a constant writerforce, granting me more rewards than I could have dreamed of all those crazy years long ago.

Now, for the first time, ever, in my new home I will have a writing room of my own. Today it is a disorganized pile of boxes containing papers and books, but my desk is in place, as are the comfy chairs. The inspirational window and peaked ceiling will lift me up and out when thoughts sink. Having this dedicated space to dream is beyond dreams.

Yes, writing started during a hot summer but the intensity to keep at it hasn’t let up since. Tonight I will toast with friends for many more successful writing years, with the tenacity and inspiration of Nine Cent Girl directing my course.

An anniversary would not be complete without giving thanks to all of you, my readers, who buoy me through every day!

16 thoughts on “3rd Anniversary

    • Yes, it was yours in high school or college, an ancient heavy thing, but I wrote all my early work on it… on the kitchen table in Waterville way back then. Thanks for that original gift!!

  1. Moira, you wowed me. You took pain and grew something beautiful and powerful out of it. Thanks for trusting your readers (us) with these intimate images. And congratulations, dear cousin, on this next chapter.

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