Photograph by Jennifer Denton
I don’t know about you, but I have been taking self-quarantine seriously: I get together with friends on Zoom, have my groceries delivered, and I haven’t seen the inside of a hair salon since February. While I have adjusted to visiting with friends online, and I’ve never been crazy about grocery shopping… My long, thin grey hair had to go, so a couple of weeks ago I studied some YouTube videos and decided to cut and color my own hair.
If it didn’t turn out well I was going to say my hair had been gnawed off by woodchucks.
Le Mythe Dior
I have often thought about writing you but after months of self-imposed Covid lockdown, followed by George Floyd’s senseless and tragic murder and the upheaval in our nation, I hit a bit of a brick wall. The memoir I’m writing revisits a dark period in my life, and for a time, it became difficult for me to write or even think about blogging. I needed to find a way to change that, so in addition to beginning each day with a prayer and taking care of the plants in my courtyard, I put my writing aside and started mainlining lighthearted feelgood films, documentaries and YouTube videos. They were my cinematic macaroni and cheese.
Like a young child, I would plop myself down in front of the television and watch the same beloved films over and over again.
Other than a masked visit to Whole Foods during senior hour and the drive through at the pharmacy, my post Covid schedule revolves around working out, writing a memoir and keeping Annie entertained, or maybe it’s the other way around. Annie is keeping me entertained.
Each time I take Annie for a walk, I feel like I’m putting my ever-thinning bones at risk.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Somehow all the trips I took last year, the wonderful people I met and the pretty pink tulle skirt and my silver shoes don’t feel important anymore, but my grandmother’s pin I wore will always be one of my most cherished possessions. The last few days I’ve been aware of my mother and my grandmother, my father’s mother, surrounding me.
All I have to do is look around my house. Their things are with me everywhere like my grandmother’s big chair in my living room.
The other night I watched the classic 1959, film, The Diary of Anne Frank, the true story of seven people who went into hiding for two and a half years, hoping to save themselves from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. They lived in a tiny space, on top of one another, and were forced to be silent for nine hours a day. The film had a number of takeaways applicable to the current Corona Virus crisis, but for me, the most important one is the need to get ourselves into a survivorship mentality. I’ve found myself there more times than I’d like to count.
While we can’t change the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we can change how we look at, and deal with, them.
Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©2020
Laura Munson’s new book, Willa’s Grove, is much more than a novel. It’s a map, a template with the potential to show each one of us how to find a life-changing sense of community. It’s where we can start to answer the question, “So now what?” and it begins with an invitation we send to ourselves and to other women.
“You are invited to the rest of your life.”
From Disney's Alice in Wonderland
Like Alice in Wonderland I’ve slipped down the rabbit hole. Unlike Alice’s world where, “Cats and rabbits would reside in fancy little houses and be dressed in shoes and hats and trousers,” my world has been filled with “men in suits, driving four door sedans who emptied the contents of our garbage can into the trunk of their car.”
This is my world, the rabbit hole in the memoir I’m writing.
Photographs by Jennifer Denton, taken at Bohanan's, San Antonio.
Not long ago I watched the film Rumor Has It with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston. Aniston’s character was lamenting the fact that her life was “a little nuts” to which Costner’s character said, “Life should be a little nuts. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together.” I love that line! If everything in life was accompanied by a smooth path, with no ups and downs, how would we know if we could survive when life hands us down days, months or even years? And on the flip side of the same coin, how could we fully appreciate the good days?
If a life without worry sounds perfect, might I suggest that after a while, even paradise might seem like a bunch of Thursdays, devoid of those moments that make us who we are?
Lionel Richie & Brenda Coffee. Photograph courtesy of Lionel Richie, 2019.
Dear Friends, This will be my last regular blog post for a while because I’m stepping away to work on my memoir. Writing a blog and a memoir requires different writing muscles and voices, and I can’t do both at the same time. This hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact I’ve put it off for several months, but the time has come.
Did you know you are the ones who’ve encouraged me to write my story?