Among Goldberg’s writing exercise suggestions in Writing Down the Bones, she says to write about “this moment”and to write both sides of a point of view. I’ve reflected on both sides of the topic of roots recently due to some happenings of the moment in my life. Here are the pieces I wrote:
White Picket Fence, Please
Laying down roots, finding your roots, deep roots – there are many idioms for making roots. Moving around a lot as a kid and as an adult, I have been a nomad who dreamed of roots. I stopped entirely unpacking all my boxes as a teen. I just unpacked essentials (though, truth be told, I deemed quite a bit essential). Ever since I have never had a place that inspired losing that habit…until now.
In April, we moved into our current house which has every potential of being our “forever home”, our children’s one “childhood home”. Read again what I just wrote, “has every potential”: I’m scared I’ll jinx it. I’ve resisted hanging pictures even, just to wait and see… Wait and see what, I don’t know as we aren’t going anywhere. And yet it’s almost like I need to coax myself to trust. Sometimes it’s hard to believe when a dream takes root. I’m struggling to trust that it’s okay to settle in and settle in deep.
To some people one house may seem like a life sentence, not a dream to which they’d ever aspire. However for me, it has always been a dream of mine and, it seems, it has arrived. A good friend of mine used to tease me about my “white picket fence” dreams: marriage, kids, and a home for keeps. They are not dreams for everybody but for this one body, they’ve come and I am home…for good.
On the flip side I recently made a decision that involved letting go of some roots:
I was born and raised in Vancouver proper. I went to Vancouver schools, have literally lived in most Vancouver neighbourhoods, have Vancouver friends, worked in Vancouver locales. In general, I have a horrible sense of direction but in Vancouver, I know where I am.
In 2009 my (then) finance dragged my very reluctant butt out of Vancouver and into Coquitlam. Since then we’ve moved even further east to Port Coquitlam – we even considered Pitt Meadows (gasp!).
As the years have gone by living out here, I’ve been letting go of my Vancouver roots. I’ll always keep my friends, of course, but they are mobile. The big thing is I’ve been letting go of my desire to go back. I’ve been letting go of my preference for Vancouver – letting go of the idea of Vancouver as “home”.
I brainstormed all the “root” sayings I could think of: to put down roots, to be rooted to the spot, to take root, to have deep roots, to never forget your roots. In all that listing, I struggled to think of one about uprooting yourself. They were all about laying roots.
Releasing roots is an interesting sensation. Though release is the wrong word. It’s more raw than that. They strain until they snap. Deep roots don’t let go easy. They break off in the soil and the deepest reaches remain there, returning to the soil: dust to dust, ashes to ashes and all that. As for me, I am brushing off my shirttails and moving on…with a lighter step…with a sense of direction. I’m heading East and am going home.
Belated, I know but here is a quick recap of August’s Progress. The focus was Creative with Words: Short Essays on Life.
Remember birthdays. Check!
Read Writing Down the Bones. Technically still reading but more than half way through and I’ll finish it up this month.
Do one creative thing daily. Check!
Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. Achieved this almost exactly 50% for the month of August. Working on increasing that percentage for September (got to love my Fitbit as it tells me exactly how many nights I achieved this).
Exercise three times per week doing exercises I enjoy. Check!
Do at least one writing exercise a week. I really enjoyed writing this month. Especially the exercises where I dove into my memories. It was a lot of fun to reminisce and to do short written pieces.