For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes)
Although it behooves me to not further denigrate my gender, I look back into the past and see myself as a strutting Rhode Island Red hen clucking her head off. Rhode Island Reds are a hearty breed that lay eggs every day, even throughout winter in New England. And they cluck before they lay their eggs, cluck after they lay their eggs, and then they cluck over their food. They are very social and need other hens to talk to. I’m no breeder, but let’s just say that my egg laying is a metaphor for the projects, events, and baking craze I get into. And I love to cluck and tell the world as I do this egg laying. I have clucked so much that I forget what time it is. Once, it had only been 5:00 p.m. when I started clucking to a friend in a restaurant and then it was 10 p.m., and all the while, a major snowstorm was occurring that I never noticed. My husband called hospitals that night to try and find me (there were no cell phones then). I’ve clucked my selective life stories to strangers on the phone (it has helped to have automation), Fed Ex and pizza delivery people, cashiers, nurses, and anyone who is interested or is interesting. I’ve clucked until I could cluck no more.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every word under heaven is my New Year’s resolution for 2012.
The gift of gab for a writer is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, if people listen to me, I want to listen to them. And so I’ve listened and learned, gathering inspiration and tidbits for stories. I’ve also listened to my own clucking and learned so much about myself I never knew. And perhaps I didn’t want to really know. Friends throughout the years, especially women friends, listened so perfectly that they became my priests. Holy conversation that brought forgiveness and absolution. Friends, even strangers, have listened and become oracles that divinely directed my next steps in life. And I, too, have been a priestess and counselor to others through my words. And I have also had clucking taken to a higher form, perhaps a higher pitched form, in my life over the past few years. I’ve been a speaker at festivals, libraries, bookstores, and conferences, becoming the mouthpiece, a channeler of sorts, for stories I listened to from people of the past. All good. And then recently, I was driving down the street and saw an inflatable Santa Claus lawn ornament lying flat on his face, deflated. And I felt the same. No, not discouraged or depressed, but all the words I have been speaking (or clucking) have taken the air right out of me. I need time to breathe, deep cleansing breaths, deep quiet breaths, and time to breathe in new words (for speaking and writing).
I’ve also been feeling like the nursery rhyme song, “I’m a Little Teapot” and when I was five years old, I danced to this song in a recital and bowed the wrong way, my fanny facing the audience. Hmmm, maybe it set the tone for a gift of gab, the boiling me who gets all steamed up with words and has to pour them out!
I am also older and aware that the hour glass figure I once had has changed, and although the bottom half has expanded slightly, the sands of time haven’t increased. I need to save words like saving money in the bank. I need to save them and use them after I listen carefully to my characters for my next novel. I need to save words and listen to my friends and family more sincerely, pulling the words out of my bank for them. I need to save words to speak truth and speak for justice. And I also need to save words to circle within me like a quiet, peaceful prayer to my Creator.
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot ~ D.H. Lawrence