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The end of the beginning…

Long ago, in seemingly another lifetime, a young man gifted me with this phrase, and I’m sure threads of his story will surface from time to time throughout the life of this blog.  He had no idea that what he was saying was profound—but it was.  His name and distinguishing characteristics are not really important.  But his story is all-important, one of defeat and of hope, of hate and of love, of evil and of good.

But—enough about that.  We’ll come back to it later.

The phrase is so precious to me because it states precisely where I am in my life, and, according to some people who know, writing should begin there. While the word “end” can make us cast our eyes—possibly blurred with tears—downward, the word “beginning” piques our interest enough, just enough, to give us the hope and the strength to look up.  The mere utterance of the word can dry our tears and unlock the proverbial shackles forged by the past.  That’s where I now find myself, and that’s where my writing will begin.

Until I was approaching my fifth birthday, I had an imaginary playmate. Her name was Fifi, and I was absolutely convinced she was real.  I remember my mother setting the table with three places for my daddy, her, and me (my baby sister was still in her high chair eating what was called pablum in the fifties), and I started crying because Mother had “forgotten” to set a place for Fifi.  Wise woman that she was, she went to the kitchen without a word and brought back a fourth place setting for my friend, although I’m sure she was secretly thinking, When is this child going to give up on this Fifi nonsense?  It’s KILLING me—and, besides, people are thinking she borders on crazy!  Eventually, Mother’s wish came true; we moved out to “the country,” and, with so many new places to explore and new friends to take with me, Fifi disappeared.  I don’t remember being particularly sad at that point—because my little world, small as it was, had literally grown huge overnight. But now I wish I could find her again.  The end of the beginning.

I have taught writing in some form for decades, but oddly, until now, I never fully realized its distilling power for solace and for Truth.  There may be times that I cannot tell you everything because I would be invading spaces that are meant to be sacred, but, in those times, I will simply fall back and let the story tell itself.  After all, sometimes raw, concentrated, unvarnished Truth surfaces in ways we never dream.  And, as it weaves into this story of many ends and many beginnings, I hope my writing will, like Geppetto’s wooden boy, become real.  Real, indeed.

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