For ever I’ve been writing as ideas come crashing in. During certain blocks of time these writings took on titled forms, like poem or novel or stage play. No matter the name, these pieces wholly occupied my time and sense of self, appearing like hidden treasures, each a gift on the page. Unlike the wonder and joy I felt while writing, however, forays into publishing were as consuming as quick-sand or as frustrating as a sand-trap: regardless the simile, this aspect of my writing process did not bear fruit. An occasional academic or periodical publication but not with the fanfare in which I suspected a titled “writer” would receive. A person with piles of papers covered with words stored in boxes. Is there a title for that kind of writer? Certainly there have been times when writing did not appear like fairy dust. In fact, I had a particularly dry stretch. After working with an unhelpful agent for a disappointing year, I lost interest and direction, and for a while I stopped writing: for months actually. But then, (and how wonderfully lucky I am), my dearest one suggested I consider blogging. What do I have to say? I responded immediately. I doubt I got more than her one eyebrow lifted before I broke into laughter. Plenty, yes, I’ve had plenty to say, and apparently continue to say, for there is no shortage of ideas springing forth for my weekly posts. This is how it was, during a distant dreary November, now six years ago, that Nine Cent Girl came to me. I’m so glad she did.
When my children were younger I watched with fascination as they developed collections. Matchbox cars. Star Wars figurines. Stuffed animals and baseball cards. A shelf of Tin Tin books for the oldest, ceramic cats the fascination of my daughter. Later baseball hats filled shelves as did a rainbow of nail polish. But even as I encouraged and often funded their collections I wasn’t interested in acquiring one of my own. In one botched attempt I dutifully declared I would begin with lighthouses and to prove my devotion I held out a 3 inch reproduction, the very one they had given me after a trip they had taken (without me) to Maine. I assured them I adored lighthouses and someday soon this one would be surrounded by many. They looked pleased with my resolve.
My small lighthouse reproduction sat on a window sill in the kitchen, alone, for years, and I never did add to it. Yes, I love the regal isolationism, the dedication to assisting wayward mariners, regardless, I didn’t traipse around to acquire more to adore my sill.
What did happen, somewhat organically, was a collection of postcards. For years, every time I went anywhere for a night or two, I purchased a few cards and sent them to people I imagined might appreciate a glimpse of my sights, like my grandmother or elderly neighbor. If I was gone longer I would send one to my parents or children left at home. I found I not only loved finding the right vista but I enjoyed writing in the small square. I loved the one or two lines captured by the card itself: the crafting, the exactness, the story. For many years, postcards were the only place I let myself write with a flare. With my own voice.