If By Wishing: Still Holding Back

A week ago I started writing around the phrase

If by wishing

and filled a few pages. I wish a lot. I grew up daydreaming. Going to a story (wish, want, fantasy) is easy. This is great for writing fiction. But sometimes wishing can be dull ache under the perfectly fine present. It kills me.

This essay (draft excerpt below) hurt to write. I remember a lot my wishes. My childhood and early adolescent fantasies are unremarkable. But when I started writing my adolescent and early adulthood wishes, and then my marriage and parenthood wishes: something turned in my heart. It’s familiar territory, my selfishness and unhappiness. Answered by my dependence on God’s love and grace. Answered by the guilt-saturated sense that I have nothing to be unhappy about.

I wanted to end the piece with my current wishes. I wish a lot. But I couldn’t think what to choose.

I lack. I want. God sustains. I hold what I can in my hands. I let go. I am done fighting. I give up. Alone in my bedroom, on my knees, then stretched flat in security that demands surrender. I wish. I doubt. I go back to that posture of humility. I beg. I wait. That is where I am now.

I would love to post the entire essay here, everything that comes between the first paragraphs I’ll share below and the last above. But I’m in the middle of deciding where my writing belongs (seeking publication) and how much I’m allowed to post as a writer when I am also an educator. The way we share our art is shifting rapidly but publication continues to lend greater validation than a personal blog post and so I hesitate to give you my finished work here.

Be content with excerpts, friends. They are likely enough for now.

If By Wishing

I make my M&Ms last, like my brother, instead of eating them one after another because they were too good to save for later. I jump the alley distance from our roof the neighboring roof where an Italian girl invites me to come play. I listened to the funny belly feeling.

I have curly hair and primary colored wardrobe. I grin in a detergent ad in one of the women’s magazines. In the middle of the summer I toss autumn leaves for a fall catalog. At school, friends trade their sticker collections to me. At home, Mom doesn’t make me eat goulash. I’m not punished for saying damn when I failed a spelling test. In the spring, I get a ten-speed bike with taped curly handlebars I hunch over. The wind roared in my ears.

I need a training bra instead of the pastel undershirts I wear. My fifth grade teacher tells me my story is the best. Friends from my old school like my friends from my new school. No one leaves my slumber party crying. The boy with ruby lips I like likes me back. I’m allowed to read my book through math. I don’t feel so dumb when my teacher moves me to another math class with a lot of kids who don’t know what they’re doing. I’m a gymnast. I couldn’t stick the landing.

Try similar. Take

If by wishing

on a tour of your years.

2 responses

  1. I think life is often made up of small moments… I wish too. Unfortunately I also procrastinate. But I wish, I dream and I forgive myself that my dreams are not what they should be… World Peace, end to famine and hunger. I try to be kind. I wish some more….. Lovely post really made me think of some of my own “small moments”.

  2. Glad this post prompted memories of small moments. You mention forgiveness – I’ll post about this soon, but Ann Patchett’s “The Getaway Car” opens with an idea about forgiveness as pertains to the writer – surely extends to anyone who creates. If you get a chance, take a look.

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