Last week, I spent the day at a high school, talking about writing and books. when I showed up, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to talk about, or if I was going to read from any of my books. On the way there, I received a Facebook notification that someone had mentioned me and made a comment about A Letter for My Mother--the book I'd edited--creative non-fiction, and since it was close to Mother's Day, I decided to spotlight this book.
If you follow me, you know the story of how this book started. The MIL whom I'd believed to share a mutual feeling of dislike with was dying, and the thought of her leaving this plane was very painful to me. I was bewildered by these feelings and being that I was across the country, could not go to her. So I wrote her a letter, and filed it. Later, on reading the letter, I thought it should be published somewhere and the book was born.
The task was not as simple as it seemed. I found myself shepherding, almost coun…
I walked faster, not wanting to be caught outside after the
sunset, alone in a strange downtown. My friends had all arrived on earlier
flights and were meeting me. The silent tap-tap of the navigation app on my
wrist guided my steps as I searched for the restaurant and tried not to look like
the tourist that I was.
The place was in the middle of an outdoor mall. The stores
were about to close and it was semi deserted, although the street outside was still
bustling with pedestrians walking to clear the area, the same as I was, while
the people of the night were hunkering down to get through the evening.
It was a warm one. I was struck by the number of homeless
men and women I saw in the short, two block walk. I don’t know if their number
was high, or if the suburbs had sequestered me from the rawness that downtown Denver
was spewing. The tidiness of the day was going to bed for the night and pulling
the covers up around its neck, and I got the sense that downtown was about to
I always talk to my Lyft driver. Today was no different. I instructed her on the best way to turn around in my hairpin driveway, slid into the back seat and then “How are you today?”
Unlike in a taxi, there was no plexiglass wall between us, nothing to suggest that the person behind the wheel had no desire to connect.
She smiled in the rear view, and I could tell there was much story behind her round eyes. Her reply rang with an African lilt. Somewhere west, maybe?
I have found that for most people, you don’t have to ask directly. If you show a little interest, they will tell you all sorts of things about their lives that help you understand how they came to be in the space they occupy at the present moment.
My phone rang, interrupting me. My husband was catching me on the way to a different airport to fill me in on how his recruiting trip had been going. We work for tech industry competitors, (but not competitors), and he joked that he has to get to the would-be interns for his co…