Monday, February 11, 2008


I bump out of bed, eye mask off, ear plugs out, slippers on, and nearly crawl to the coffee maker. I've spent the night napping again. Every three hours, like an infant, I'm up and needing to eat and be entertained. Menopause is reducing me to my most needy self, in all ways imaginable.

In the time I've submitted my manuscript and waited for others to tell me what to do with it, I've watched as my body takes on the shape and symptoms of a pregnant woman. Breasts tender and swollen, stomach distended, hormones off kilter.




A holy trinity?

A quote from the movie, "The Secret" falls into my mind, "When the voice on the inside is louder than the voices on the outside, you will have mastered your life."

My inside voice says, "No more waiting for 'others.' No more putting the onus on anyone but you. YOU know what to write and how to write it. Stop procrastinating, projecting and promising yourself to others. Get your butt in the chair and let those fingers start to fly."

* * * * *

A blogger friend, someone I've never actually met, Lo sends me information on a new book and author I must check out. The author is coming to Portland and I am needing to attend.

I do. I watch and listen to a woman I know nothing about. A woman with not one single thing in common with me other than our gender.

I go home, start to read her book, her memoir, and cannot put it down. Her story is enthralling, but her WRITING, oh, my God. It is the link, the missing one, to what I've been waiting for all these months and years. Suddenly I "get it." I GET what all the teachers and writers have been trying to tell me about my own writing. They've been extraordinarily helpful, but they were virtual lessons on how to fish. Felicia Sullivan's book handed me a pole and said, "Here. Like this."

So inspired after finishing her book I moved straight to the keyboard from the reading chair, and opened a brand new document on my computer. Here's what came out:


“All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.”
Federico Fellini
(1920 – 1993)

I bend at the knees, “Let your legs do the work,” my mother’s voice plays in my ear, “save your back!” Feet in her old sandals, hands in her forgotten gloves, pushing her old, what used to be green, wheelbarrow around her land, I stop the bending, teetering on the balls of my feet, hot, July sun straight above, I let go of the handles of the wheelbarrow. I fall backwards, gently, letting the soft, dry land catch me.
The journey from crouch to stand seems infinite. It’s beyond what I have the energy to do. And so I don’t. I let myself fall. Simply let gravity take over, where my strength has left off.
Eyes at the sky with my hand making shade, I stop. Just like that. I don’t push the wheelbarrow. I don’t lift the rocks. I don’t finish what I started. I stop.
I lie on my back, knees bent, legs splayed to make a W, and I listen. It’s so quiet here. So quiet I hear the birds, the wind, a dog barking far away, the air conditioner humming from inside the house. I’ve never wanted to stop before, never wanted to hear the quiet, make room for what it is trying to say, but I can’t push it back for one more minute. The weight of the quiet is stronger than my will to silence it.
What I was always afraid of happening if I stopped; begins to happen. Tears slip under the barge, first one, then several, evaporating quickly on my cheeks. When they start to fall faster than the sun can dry them, I grab the bottom of my dirty t-shirt and dab them away.
The words on my t-shirt say “Joyful Heart,” but the shirt is a liar and so am I. My heart is not full of joy. My heart is not full at all. My heart is a stranger to itself, empty, void. My head, that is what is full, full of noise and confusion and anger and lies. Grit in my ears, full of messages I am tired of recycling through on a continuous loop. A loop that threatens to clutch at my throat and choke the life right out of it.
When my tears and snot, sweat and soreness make it necessary to get up and address their needs, I do. I rise from my spot on the ground, look over at the house on my left, the mountains on my right, sun up above and the impression my body has left below. I’ve left impressions everywhere I’ve been in this lifetime.
I back the wheelbarrow over the dented earth, scribbling the impression away. Without a trace.

(You'll have to buy the book to get the rest of this type of brilliance.)

Thank you teachers known and unknown.

Thank you voices within and without.

Thank you, no accidents.

Felicia Sullivan


lo said...

I am both tingley and teary. Awesome Carrie!
I know what you mean and I get it too!
Type! Type! Type! Let's get this party started!
LO xo:)

Jerri said...

Get along with your pearly self!

Wow, Carrie. Just wow.

Picture me, clutching $24.95 in hard, cold cash, standing at the counter of a bookstore, waiting for them to open the first box of books so I can buy your book.

Stop reading this. Get back to writing.


riversgrace said...

Oh, wow. I feel like I can finally exhale. Those pieces you wrote from Sisters last summer - they had this truth, too, like fresh air. And this piece IS, heart to bone, extraordinary.

YES! You got it. You have it. You are being it.


Suzy said...

There never was a question or a time that you didn't get it....

Extraordinary writing, simply extraordinary. This is it.

Love you.


Kathryn said...

Where do I sign up to buy?!! You are in the groove.

Hey, isn't there something about the wisdom of menopause...

La La said...

My whole body shakes. Chills up and down my arms. OMG, Carrie! This is so poignant and full, full, full. You are full and you are sharing it with us.

Taunting us, no less!

I'm in line next to Jerri, money in hand, waiting to buy your book.

Get crackin'!

Anonymous said...

It has been there, inside you all along Carrie. I have seen it, from even before I met you, the day I first started reading your words.....You have had it all along..YOU just had to believe it

Your writing is amazing, nothing short of pure beauty. Keep writing, don't stop.

I will join La La and Jerri, and the many others in line to get your book (or at least be one of the first to have it pre-ordered at Amazon!!)

Kim said...

Oh CP, you have seriously GOT IT. Amazing, extraordinary work that cut me to the core. Just gorgeous.

Take a serious A!!

I'll be buying at least a carton of these babies.

Deb said...

Yea, hooray!!! You go! I'm ready to host your salon - just let me know. Love you, love you!

Jenny said...


I love your writing (your voice). And I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Jenny said...

Also, that quote rocks.

And also, I've come across Felicia's book a number of times. Seems I should go read it :-)

holly said...

That is IT. ANd IT is gorgeous.

Congrats, Carrie. Effin awesome writing!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Love this,
The journey from crouch to stand seems infinite. It’s beyond what I have the energy to do. And so I don’t. I let myself fall. Simply let gravity take over, where my strength has left off.
and this,
My head, that is what is full, full of noise and confusion and anger and lies. Grit in my ears, full of messages I am tired of recycling
Love all of it!
You betcha I'm buying the book to get more of this type of brilliance!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is rich and lovely. Perhaps now it is clear what has been "up" with you lately... THIS bubbling and forming, readying to be born!


Michelle O'Neil said...


Awesome Carrie.


Nancy said...


Your head may be full of "noise and confusion and anger and lies," but when you pour it onto the page it is clear and brilliant and true! Ride the wave; this is a big one!

Terry Whitaker said...

ditto everyone plus more!

Anonymous said...

Lovely -- keep going!

Drama Mama said...


I want that book. Go, Carrie, go!

Happy Birthday. Thank God you were born.

Go Mama said...

Wow Carrie. What a rush. So visceral.
You go girl! Just go.

Anonymous said...