Why do I write? It’s not that I have any particular interest in writing, but some things are bursting from me, asking to be written. These are among the topics that speak from within me:
1. In my early 20’s, I heard about an Indian guru who talked about meditation and peace. I wanted to know more, but I was a housewife with a husband and a four-year-old son. Could I act on this urge or did I need to remain in the role that seemed ‘normal’?
2. When I was 25, my first husband came home one day and suggested that he quit his job, we sell our house, buy a motor home, and travel with our five-year-old son and our dog. We did!
3. I rejected college when I completed high school, thinking that I could just continue reading voraciously to learn what I wanted to know. By the time I was thirty and the mother of a ten-year-old, I was hungry to share knowledge with those who knew more, so I sent for all the college catalogs of schools within 30 miles. I looked through them, noting what classes appeared interesting, then chose a major – physics – at a local college.
4. We had sailing friends who were planning an early retirement, intending to live on their boat as they sailed around the world. They invited us to join them for any part that interested us. My husband was surprised, shocked actually, when I said I’d like to sail the Atlantic to the Azores at the beginning of their trip.
5. I’d been in a corporate job that I’d loved for 15 years, but was getting tired of it. Instead of quitting, I took my husband’s suggestion and requested a leave of absence. Thus began my one-month unstructured trip to Thailand by myself.
6. I was fifty-nine years old and considering a drastic career change from corporate IT management, well-paid with numerous benefits, to teaching. And not just teaching, but special education. Should I do it? Could I do it? Did I want this kind of a challenge, for a third of my former salary and none of the comfortable benefits I’d come to enjoy?
7. Just before my seventieth birthday, I flew to Spain with plans to walk part of the Camino, the pilgrimage ending at Santiago. What I didn’t know was that four months later, I would have a heart attack, a stroke, and a triple-bypass. So, how did that walk go?
8. At a conference, I happened to attend a panel discussion about Israel and Palestine. Although is was not a topic of particular interest to me, once I started to listen, I was completely drawn in. One of the speakers, a Jewish man, said they he occasionally took small groups for tours. I offered my contact information and said I might be interested in a future trip.
9. My Greek friend, Kanella, mentioned that there was a new Van Gogh exhibit in Paris. She was thinking of stopping there for a few days to see it on her way home to Athens for the summer. Would I like to join her?
10. I’ve been demonstrating and protesting for 50 years for peace and social justice causes. In 2019 at a climate protest, for the first time I risked being arrested. I was arrested and after multiple hearings, was found guilty. Now, after appeal, I await a jury trial. What has that been like?
11. After a lifetime of being a non-athelete and noncompetitive, in my 50’s I joined a rowing group in Gloucester harbor, mostly women. We rowed in gigs and they accepted me and my lack of skill. I loved being on the water, being synchonized, being mostly silent as we rowed. How in the world did this happen, that I rowed with them from early spring to late fall, for about 15 years?