Me on London Bridge, April 1999

In response to requests, I have added a photo of me on that trip to London. This shot, me standing on London Bridge clutching a bag of tourist what-not, reminds me of how happy I felt while exploring Scotland and England.

Yet, it also reminds me that I have no recorded memories of that trip, which is in itself part of a larger story – a pivotal era in the evolution of my writing practice.

Six months before this photo was taken, my husband (then, my fiance) looked through my journals without my permission and felt upset about what he read. We argued about it – me for the violation of my privacy, him for the insights into my brain that he didn’t care for – and my ultimate solution was to give up writing because I had no safe venue to explore my own thoughts.

I did not write in a journal again for nearly seven years.

What I didn’t realize was how this choice would affect me. First, I grew to subliminally resent this decision, then eventually my husband, whose breach of privacy separated me from a key element of my DNA. In late 2005, one year before our divorce would take place, I began to write again. Not as much as I wanted to, but I bought a notebook and I would occasionally scribe an entry about what was happening in my marriage.

I hated it, but I felt that I had to write in code for fear that he’d pry into my head again. Yet, I simply couldn’t keep from writing any longer, and I didn’t care what I had to do so long as I could put pen to paper.

Today, I can’t get enough writing. I blog for CityLab7, I blog for this fellowship, I have a digital journal that holds the ever-changing minutae of daily life and a hand-written journal to explore larger topics—as well as my trusty Molskine notebook that goes with me everywhere. The more I write, the more alive I feel.

This twisted path reminds me of a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke, “The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

This rings true when I think of crossing the bridge in London, and the other bridges I’ve crossed since, including the one that led me back to writing, which I do now in ways I had never dreamed of trying. Sometimes, I feel angry at those lost years and the directionless path I wrought, due in part to my lack of growth as a writer.
Of course, Rilke also said, “Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”