This past year I have joined Cowbird, a site which invites people to tell stories and share images. I am taken by how powerful some of the stories and photos are and am enjoying posting an occasional story myself. There are some power users who post every day–wow, impressive. I wish that I could be as creative so as to find a story on a daily basis. Actually, this might be a good exercise for any of us, not just writers. Every day one ought to write a story about something that happened, that one remembered, an association that an object or person brings to mind. This web of stories can spread out across the Web and offer a narrative portrait of the thoughts and feelings of each person who contributes.
Here is my most recent story that I posted to Cowbird:
My mother has been dead for many years now… over 20. I am astonished to think of this. She will always be sitting in her chair next to the fireplace, across from my father intent on doing the puzzle; she would be either knitting or reading and always spelling words for my father. She wore chopsticks in her hair way before that became a trend for downtown girls. She had been a ballet dancer so we all grew up eating like ballerinas. –Not that I ever remotely resembled one in figure or ability. She lived in books and gave me that gift. She was solitary and with few friends, didn’t seem to mind.
When she became sick in her late 60s, I was accutely aware of her fragility. Kidney disease is not pleasant. My own children loved her and my oldest had given her the name of Dee Dee. She loved this as her own beloved aunt had that same nickname. We have no idea of my toddler son came upon it except it rather flowed from Ginny, Virginia–her name.
I am moving close, quickly, to the age at which she had become sick. How odd to think of myself as old as my mother! She broke my heart by dying so young. –Although in the scheme of things 70 is not really young, is it? There are days where it flits through my mind to pick up the phone and call her. Then I remember.
No one in this world knows us as long as our mothers have known us. They knew us when we were but whispers. And now she is a whisper in my heart.