Hello, Old Friend

Cinnamon hearts

 

Hello, Old Friend. I’ve missed you.

 

I am returning (I believe, I hope) from a long absence. I buried my dad in late June, three years after my mom died, and ever since I have felt like my moorings are slipping. There are still plenty of people who love me and whom I love in equal measure, there are still places I want to see or return to, still recipes I want to try and books I want to read. I don’t feel lost or permanently broken – just lonelier and a little bit beaten up. I miss belonging and connection, so here I am, writing to You.

 

I spent about a year and a half writing an essay about my time working at a greenhouse outside of Cleveland. I think I have rewritten it 20 or 30 times, submitted it to 15 literary magazines, and been rejected by 50. That’s not true of course, because the math doesn’t work out, but it feels true. Rejection always feels bigger than my efforts, why is that? It shouldn’t.

 

Anyway, if you’re a writer (or even if you’re not), you’re rolling your eyes and telling me I haven’t even begun to try. You’re telling me I have to keep going and send my essay out again. You’re talking to your screen about how many times very famous writers sent out their manuscripts before someone finally accepted them, published them, made them famous, and produced movies or built amusement parks in honor of their books.

 

And yeah, I know, I’ve heard those stories too, but nobody is going to ride an orchid-themed roller coaster.

 

So with love,

I say this:

Shut up.

 

I am retiring (for now) from my failed career in literary-magazine-writing. In fact, I may bake myself a retirement cake, since I really like cake and happen to be a fairly excellent baker. See? I have plenty of confidence. Self-doubt is not the problem; rattling a locked door is the problem. I do that a lot, especially with people, but we can talk more about that later. Or not. Let’s not.

 

These might be letters, not essays. They might be essays, not letters. I don’t know, we’ll see. My therapist has retired early – a decision for which I am trying hard not to take personal responsibility—so I am all yours. I am trying to stop trying so hard to be “writerly” so I can enjoy writing again. I am trying to let go of writing for redemption and start writing for connection. That is all more difficult for me than it should be, but I intend to try.

 

I want to feel better, braver, more hopeful than I currently do. I’m guessing I’m not the only one, which is why I am sending this out into the shrieking chaos of the Internet. Write back if you feel like it. If you don’t or can’t right now, I’ll keep writing to You anyway. I heal by healing –we all do.

 

Love and solidarity,
Marta

33 thoughts on “Hello, Old Friend

  1. Nice to have you back. I will read this thoroughly when I have time to savor…maybe with a cookie, since its national cookie day.

    ????????????????????

    ENJOY TODAY Robyn Hansen (612) 991-3941

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad you are back, we’ve missed you! Regardless of what those scmancy magazines say, or what you say to yourself about it, you’re still the best writer I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is dictated Marta because of my broken wrist and I’m not going to go back and collect make that correct typos. You struck a chord with me as you so often do I to and healing by healing mine is more physical at the moment then yours. But being broken or feeling broken so that what when used to do without so much as a second thought is either impossible or has to be careful carefully planned or faked is stressful. I had my blood pressure taken this morning at the orthopedist she said is it always this high no I said it’s not I think it’s stress and tried to laugh. Sometimes we like straight lines the way children grow taller and taller and tallerAnd sometimes we have to put up with wavy lines that go up and then down partway and then up again and then down again and it’s hard to see whether we are losing or gaining or just getting by. You have been through tremendous loss, both parents in rapid succession preceded by a period of morning because you saw what was coming. I will tell you what I tell myself and it sometimes works and it sometimes doesn’t. Look at what you have a loving husband three beautiful children not perfect but good. Many things you are good at, Some of which are easy to measure like baking a delicious cake or rating a perceptive essay. Some are harder to measure. You have many gifts Marta dear, many strengths. We are both going through a hard patch. We are going to do some diff different things for a while because we can’t do what we often do so easily. Life will get better. You will still be wonderful you. I am sorry that you are hurting because I love you. 😘 Warmly, Betsy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Betsy, I love you too … and I am so grateful to you for reading, responding, and teaching me all these years. Healing is slow, isn’t it? Too slow for women like us who have so much we want to do. xxoo

      Like

  4. i will be hanging on your every word… you have such a talent and a gift and i thank you for sharing it with all of us. mostly me, but that would sound really selfish.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome back, my beautiful amazing talented friend. 🙂 So very happy you are here, and I am so looking forward to what’s to come. (no pressure, just peace xoxoxox)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have missed your writing very much! So glad you are back. My heart is with yours on the loss of your parents. It is a pain that no heart is ever prepared for, and lasts forever. Slowly, it improves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rattling people who are locked doors… preach. When is persistence stupidity and gracelessness? And how can I know which doors might be open if I don’t rattle? Some doors stick, but would open with a shove, and others give a little before the deadlock engages fully… I doubt anyone’s telling you that you haven’t tried enough yet, but it’s good to have you back here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had goosebumps run up and down my arms when I saw the email from Gypsy Hausfrau in my inbox. ☺️ What a precious gift you are to all of us fortunate enough to read the beautiful work you so generously share. Love you so very much. 💗 ~ M. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome back, sage friend! I am so thrilled to see this, so ready to read, ponder, listen and heal. Keep writing, dear friend. We are listening and ready to heal by healing. So much love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So.Happy.To.See.You. Really and truly, I want to read and re-read so I can understand my life more. Love that I get to connect with you this way again. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marta, I know two recovering Daisy Hillers who would LOVE to read your essay if you ever want to share it. It would be easier to (e)mail than one of your excellent baked creations, which we would not turn down for love or money! Always happy to read your words! J and J

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It was so good to read you again! Inspiring as always. I’m off of Facebook which is wonderful, but I know I am missing some important things. I am sorry about your dad. I know he was a meaningful force in your life. I have enjoyed reading the stories you share about both of your parents. How are your kids doing? Keep writing. I think you should write a cookbook.

    Heather

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Marta,
    So happy you are writing again. Your work is so fresh. If I owned a newspaper, I would give you a regular column. I look forward to each new effort.

    Like

  14. This is quite lovely, Marta . . . and I am glad you wrote it. You do a better job than most of asking for what you want/need, and I am always impressed by that. I tend to be more of a solitary fumer. Why doesn’t anyone ever call ME? why do I always have to be the one doing the inviting? And things like that. While I have come to the conclusion that it’s just always going to be that way . . . it doesn’t make it any easier, and doesn’t stop me from going into a funk now and then as I wait for someone else to initiate a communication. I do fear the day when I don’t break myself out of my funk, and finally just decide I don’t really need other people. We all know that’s not true.

    Luckily, I have John. And, you have Brian and those lovely children. And, many many friends who adore you (including us).

    So, hang in there dear friend. Lets us stay connected – because you are wonderful; it is fun; and it is important.

    Love you bunches.

    Enjoy Today! Robyn Hansen 612.991.3941

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Beautifully put. And you are heard. I would happily partake in any cake you bake for any occasion, and hope to learn from you about healing and grace. Love you. XO

    Like

  16. You are a writer through and through. Born one. Still one. Just remember, after awhile it will explode out and it may not be as pretty as a Jackson Pollock. Take the break. Master yet another skill but come back to the kneading of words with renewed vigor because we all like reading you, Marta. Publishing ain’t what it used to be. You see the garbage they print. Everyone knows the best stuff isn’t currently found in a hardback. Tides will shift. It’s the one thing we can count on.

    Liked by 1 person

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