Posted by: alegra22 | February 27, 2009

moments of flight


The sky has lifted her skirts and let loose upon the island of the long white cloud. I sit in the grey light, reduced to eating cold toast and instant coffee with powder milk. This morning I was pulled out of bed by Zaviera’s sticky-tangle-in-my-hair fingers, her soft, new to the world cheeks, and the declaration that “It is time to wake up Mommy!”

My body disagreed. But here I am, my mother-self doing what it has learned to do over the last four years: get on with getting on. Grumping and praying for a venti dark roast with cream to magically manifest before me.

I have come to a conclusion in the last three weeks. This conclusion has resulted in me pulling back from working on the actual writing of the novel to understanding the madness to my method or the method to my madness. It also resulted in a certain, undefinable peace. This peace manifested in rewriting two rejected stories and one story that has been waiting in the corner, lifting a shy hand to catch my attention. I rewrote and sent them off without my usual agonizing, without the tightening in my throat. I flung them into the wind at the off-chance one of them might sprout wings and fly.

Later, as is my usual pattern, it became clear (after submitting all three)  that two of the stories are definitely land bound. In fact, they might just have a sack of rocks tied around their neck. But I was okay with this too. I didn’t do my usual Harry Potter’s Dobby impersonation of banging my head against the oven, the wall, mumbling, “Alegra failed her master, Alegra is a bad, bad writer. Alegra must be punished.”

Because the shy story, the one in the corner, she is fluttering about and I believe in her. Even if she doesn’t catch this current, even if she doesn’t soar with this attempt, I have learned something and that is what is important.

I think this platform of peace is the result of three things: ever-present serendipity, the mood of current events, and having weathered enough rejection at this point to stop gripping so tightly and let go. Rejection has forced me to get up again and again, and in order to do this, I have had to ask myself “why do I get up to face this Goliath to get punched in the gut?  Why go through the anxiety? WHy not slink away and go about my business, allowing my bruises and aches to fade?”

This question was amplified by the discovery of my mother’s leukemia. Things come in three’s in my life – always. And when the lessons of mortality decide to blow through my life, blasting out the cobwebs, it does not worry about what it might knock over in my fragile world. About a week and a half ago, a dear friend of  mine had a nightmare land at his feet. His wife, who has already been battling illness for years, was hospitalized for severe pneumonia. At the time of her admittance the doctors had given her an hour and a half to live. She stabilized, thank god, but her mending is slow, she is expected to be in the ICU for another two weeks. Another dear friend is losing an uncle to leukemia. In fact, as I type this, I believe she is saying goodbye.

All of these events have been strung together by small moments, serendipity: A letter from an old friend absent from my life for almost fifteen years. Watching Elizabeth Gilbert and Amy Tan speak on their writing process. Finally figuring out how I need to research and plot out this novel.

This morning as I sit in the grey light, my son climbs up next to me and announces, “Mom, I am waiting for you.”

And that is the conclusion I have reached. Life is waiting for me right. now.

So I fling my stories, my hopes, my fears, up into the sky and let them fall around me. Because even falling has its moments of flight.



  1. I love how your words flow.

    So you have the same theory as my mom. That things always comes in threes.

    “why do I get up to face this Goliath to get punched in the gut? Why go through the anxiety? WHy not slink away and go about my business, allowing my bruises and aches to fade?”

    For the end result.

    • Yep – if life is trying to get a message across it usually comes at me from three different angles – I think it is because I am slow to get things.

      I agree, I confront that Goliath for the same reason I don’t mind getting thrashed in the impact zone – because once I get out to the waves, it is all worth it.

  2. Love this!

    • Jeanette – Thank you!

  3. You have written the beauty and fun of waking up by beautiful young souls. I have experienced this with my now grown children and most recently with my granddaughter who told her mom that the funnest part of a sleepover with grandma was waking me up and climbing into my bed and waking me up and enjoying the start of our day.

    I am sorry to hear that you have experienced these 3 things happening but I also have learned that many negatives happen in 3’s but often these 3’s become a positive.

    I so enjoy reading all you can share.

    Thanks so very much!

    • Waking up to my children is always a blessing – even when I am groggy headed and sleep deprived.
      Thank you for reading and leaving your thoughts Jane.

  4. This came at the perfect time. I’ve recently had fun tossing worries to the wind and just working and having faith that things will turn out well.

    You are such a blessing!

    (Sorry I’ve been so quiet recently.)

    • It has been long coming and I know I will have my moments but it feels like something fudamental has shifted and for that I am grateful. I guess it is similiar to turning enough bad guys into sheep on Ratchett and Clank, you finally get upgraded to the next level – doesn’t mean there aren’t more challenges but at least my sheep-blaster is now a super duper sheep blaster.

      • Ohh, now I have to get out my PS2 again. I’ve been missing that game…

        • Dan has been working on me for a Wii or PS3 but I keep saying “When would we have the time to play anything?” Last time we were able to play PS2 Sol was about six months old!
          I miss it :o)

  5. Beautiful as always!

    • I have missed you, thanks for following me over here. I hope you are doing well – I look forward to catching up.

  6. Sounds like a strange place teetering a bit on the edge of some darkness, but keeping to the daylight – a tough balancing act, especially when writing requires you to take massive swan-dives into the darkness but come surfacing back up in the day. Sending you love and hugs and hope that in this daytime, you’ll see those you’ve thrown to the wind evolving and soaring higher than you’d thought possible.

    • Hello my lovely friend!
      Yes, but in this case the edge of the darkness feels like dawn – if that makes sense.
      And thank you, I would love to watch all those stories in flight. A whole flock of them (I will hide beneath a tree to avoid the splat because knowing me, they would have to have a sense of humor)
      Hugs to you and much goodwill towards your own ideas and PhD work.

  7. Being time to wake up, and the body not agreeing, is one ugly enigma that pervades the landscape of human existence; thank goodness for instant!

    I found submitting short stories and being rejected rather irritating, too, but really, you’re not losing out because landing an agent and publishing the book is actually more realistic; editors are so BLAH about shorts for some reason.

    Twitter is another tool that can be used for great advantage in communication and learning info; in this perspective, twitter holds value, so its better you joined and got that out of the way (I’m so ashamed of you!) (you must know I’m kidding) : ) : )

    As for me, I have a mound of Italian waiting for me, so I hope things go well for you, I’m sending good thoughts your way..

    • I hope it was a mound of Italian food waiting for you ;o)
      Last night, as I was engaging in my last bit of procrastination I came across a quote in an email. I was about to delete it because it was just another writing competition plug but for some reason (Oh wait, I was procrastinating, that iS the reason) I read through it and at the end it had this quote: “degustibus non est disputandum.” There is no accounting for taste…the writer was discussing how he had submitted a short story three times to a journal only to have it rejected. Later it went on to be accepted and published. The same magazine that rejected it three times ‘discovered’ the story in print and asked him if they could publish it.
      so there you have it. I was going to add in another quote about failure and success but I am just waking it up and I would butcher it from memory.
      Best on your schoolwork!

  8. I want to believe that this whole piece was written around the sentence “Because even falling has its moments of flight.”

    It’s one of those sentences that wakes you up in the middle of the night and you run to grab a pen and envelope to write down.

    Not to say the rest wasn’t lovely, it was. And so are you. Godspeed.

    • I was just thinking of you last night, as I was falling asleep (or attempting to), I wandered into a memory of Chicago and once again had the wish that I could shrink the world. I have been wondering how you are and the lovely J are doing, and then I woke up and here you are.
      So good to hear from you my fine friend.
      How is the writing going?

  9. PJ wrote:
    “I want to believe that this whole piece was written around the sentence “Because even falling has its moments of flight.” ”

    I agree. Beautifully written.

    The image of such floating flight seems to me a nice metaphor for the clarity of mind that I have felt when questions of mortality loom. When time is caught, and you with it, and all that exists is now.

    • “When time is caught, and you with it, and all that exists is now.”

      So true. I think that is one of the gifts that comes with the pain of loss – we are given a glimpse of the greater picture, and I think it helps us get through what sometimes seems unbearable.

  10. Amazing comments on this blog. I’m not going to comment on you writing style. You already know that your a great writer anyway!

    What I enjoy reading in your posts are the ways you meet each challenge. From the mundane, boring ones to the more extreme challenges. Being able to share this process is a privilege. Too often people hide away from others and, for different reasons, are scared to share them. I guess maybe they think people won’t care or may judge them. Sometimes that can be true if they are not surrounded by kind, generous and caring people.

    You can see that you have managed to accumulate a multitude of these people in your life time. I consider myself to be one of these people. It’s surprising how difficult it is to find them. And what’s even cooler for you is that your husband is right up on the top of that list.

    Being able to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is something that is so important in everyones life. As you know it can be very difficult to see it when your life has just been shrouded in darkness. Hence the need for glimpses of light (your family and friends). You have managed to grasp on these lights with vigor and passion, hence your arrival at the end of the tunnel…or soft landing on papatuanuku.

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