An exercise in writing.

I've recently discovered that Tolkien books were simply meant to be read aloud. I started reading The Two Towers aloud one night last week, mostly because I found I was reading far too quickly to appreciate the imagery Tolkien gives his readers. My internal dialogue was going something like "Oh that shady Gollum... blah blah black rock staircase... Sam and Frodo having a moment... blah blah more freaking black rocks and stairs". I had found the LOTR books to be a little slow for me (don't shoot me yet) but the second I started giving a voice to those words, it became a magical experience for me. I was immediately transported to the Middle Earth I know and love from the movies (also don't shoot, I was a movie-first on these, except for the Hobbit), and was inspired. Dude - it has been quite awhile since I was inspired by anything.

When I was in junior high and middle school, I wanted to be an author and write books. I loved, loved, loved my creative writing classes and creative writing exercises. It was great to delve into a world of imagination. As an adult, I think we all become jaded in one way or another and lose that innocence and imagination of childhood. We stop smiling.

See - it even happened to Harry Potter.

I don't want to lose my creativity and imagination. As an only child, I once had quite the vivid imagination. I don't want to be that kid that can't get back to Narnia because they stopped believing! I don't want to be a writer anymore. I don't want to write books or be an author anymore. Well, maybe that's not completely true, but it is a dream of which I've let go. However, I do want to be creative. I do want to be imaginative. In order to work my creative brain muscles, I am going to periodically (read: whenever I feel like it) find a writing prompt, give myself 30 minutes to write, and probably (read: maybe) post it to the blog. I don't really expect them to be any good, or even readable. I am not really asking for feedback, but I will take it if you want to give it. This is simply going to be an exercise in writing for me, like I am going to a literary gym for the mind muscles.

So, here we go. 30 minutes on the clock. Ready. Set. Go.

I am closing my eyes and trying to remember, trying to get back to that time, back to an age of blissful innocence, love, and laughter. It is bittersweet to remember a memory so precious that can never be replicated or revisited. There was a time when my family was whole. It wasn't always this broken, shattered thing that it is now, limping along just trying to get by. No, it was once a fully functional, healthy, overwhelming loving entity. Holidays felt like a safe, warm cocoon of happiness and wonder. Christmas mornings felt like they should feel for everyone; brisk air licking your nose outside of the warm blankets as you slowly open your eyes as you lay in your bed, anticipation and excitement to tear into the gifts under the tree building up in your heart, and complete and utter safeness. It hurts my heart to think about how happy we all were, and how full of sadness and darkness we are now. The pieces have shattered. We are like shards of glass, cold and cutting, no longer soft and safe. Is this what growing up is? Must people lose their softness and light? Or is that just me? 

What I have in my mind as a treasured holiday memory is like a slideshow of photos of all the treasured holidays of my childhood. Pictures flicker past my eyelids in my mind, speeding faster and faster. Memories of laughter. Memories of gift wrap and bows. Memories of children darting from room to room. Memories from a time before life jaded me. But mostly, well always, memories of my mother. Her laughter. Her smile. Her far-reaching, all-encompassing love. She had a light that shone through her, which must have been her soul shining out from her. She was like gravity for us.  She held us tightly together and kept us grounded and stable, even though the world was spinning out of control. When she was gone, the world went dark. We lost our footing. With nothing to hold us all together, we were flung apart by grief, by desperation, by sorrow with no inkling or direction of how to come back to one another. 

These memories I hide away in the deepest part of my heart. I stow them away from myself because they are too beautiful for me to bear. My heart of stone cracks and breaks at the sheer power of their beauty, so I don't look to hard. I can't. I must hold myself together and push forward, all sharp edges and hardness. But I know that secreted away, in my broken heart of hearts, is her laughter, her smile, and her love, which I carry with me always. And that, above all, is what I treasure. 

Well shoot. 30 minutes and 1 (much needed) glass of wine down.

I can honestly say I didn't know what would happen there and that there is not what I had expected. A little more emo than I thought, but hey, that's the direction that happy little holiday prompt took me. So this should be fun, right?


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