I went to a writing conference round this time last year and I came back depressed and dumbfounded. It was put on by a small publishing company and it was there I realized that my writing didn't fit in any of their boxes. What I was doing was different and weird.
I didn't write for a month. Not a word.
After I got over the strange looks and rhetoric about how self-publishing (blah blah blah) is not the way to go, I gathered my wits about me and grabbed hold of some courage too.
I embraced my weirdness. I embraced my mind and the wiry way it worked. I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and continued on my own path.
It was messy and nonsensical, but it suited me well. I grew in confidence and became more diligent over the year. By the time summer came around I was all hot and bothered. I felt antsy, ready to put my story out in cyberspace.
Fear, however, drove me underground. Thoughts kept spiraling through my head..."No one will read it. No one will care. No one will get it."
Then Nancy Belmont put up her courage wall on the Avenue in Del Ray. I walked past that thing every day and read the words both my neighbors and strangers wrote on the board. It moved me to tears.
I knew I had to launch my story project. I was afraid to undress my heart, but I was ready, too. So, a plan went into action. "Somewhere over the Black Narrows" became tangible and real.
I wanted others to be inspired to share their story...to write, paint, dance and brew up their own art. We impact each other when we are open and honest. Life change happens when we are make ourselves vulnerable.
Through this project I hope to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease. This is just one story and though it is very real to me, it is fictional.
Every victim, caregiver and family member has their own experience when confronted by Alzheimer's. Every one of them has a story that is uniquely theirs and it is real.
I hope that we will talk about this in Del Ray, in Alexandria and all across Virginia. I hope that the small talk in our town sends a wave of conversation across the nation. We must speak up and speak out. We must have courage.
Seeds are planted deep within our hearts.
Something stirs inside to make us move, make us act.
What do you wish you had the courage to do?
Take the first step, write it down.