I am made of a core love of the stars. One of my earliest memories is of star watching. Not in the “I totally saw Kim Kardashian!!!” way. I try very hard to not celebrate the mediocre. But when I was very little, my parents took me to see a 4th of July fireworks display. I was, naturally, terrified by the banging, sizzling, screeching of the fireworks. But after the beautiful firework faded, it was one of those lovely, clear nights that’s both dark but intensely bright with moon and star light. I was fascinated by the way they seemed to carve themselves into the blanket of existence so early in my memory.
We all know that I’ve dealt with all sorts of adversity that would probably make most people just throw in the towel and say “You know what, life? Have it your way. This is wretched.” But, like the stars, I seem to have a fighting instinct carved into my flesh all the way down to my soul and when I gave into the fact that writing was my destination, my journey, my star stuff, it seemed my instincts breathed a sigh of relief.
I had fought it off with a stick for far too long. I am still fighting. Right now, I am recouperating from surgery for ovarian cancer. Oh, and under the fun effects of morphine, so pardon me, if I suddenly call y’all up for a “Riders Of The Storm” Moment.Get a tshirt that says “Just Blame Matt.” He is my little brother, after all. But the thing is that while all the adversities I’ve squared off with would be dream crushers for so many, it adds fuel to the fire for many.
But the thing is that while all the adversities I’ve squared off with would be dream crushers for so many, it adds fuel to the fire for me. I’m a determined one, if there ever was such a girl. I let one run in with my father, who had his own destructive demons almost tear not just his but my world apart badger me off of writing until I was nearly as bad off as him. I was letting the (his and mine) shadows get at me from every corner. Words set ablaze to these and make my world right again.
Why? We see, I let my fire be snuffed out once. It was cruel and horrific and it resulted in nearly a decade or more of my making bad choices. I own these bad choices through writing, in a sense. But as Joan Didion once also said, “I write so I can learn more about the world around me.” This is also true. I write to explore and to push myself.
Next week at my daughter’s school is “Author’s Week” and they have some authors coming in to read childrens books every day. My daughter is sometimes my number one champion, she takes me seriously when nobody else does. I had no idea that she had told her teacher not only that I had cancer but that I was a writer. Whilst I still blog, work on my manuscript, and shockingly enough a project full of childrens stories with a friend, I am barely published, but I have written many ‘books’ for my kids. Her teacher wrote me and asked me to come in and be her classroom’s guest author. I am still flabbergasted.
I write partly because I need my children to see that your life must be made up of choices that are both sound but lead you to happiness. I also write because every word that rings true to me when it burns itself into my mind and onto a page, well, it’s a star in my own galaxy. I do this to myself because happiness is not necessarily a continuous supply of foie gras and Crystalle champagne but of small victories like a cup of tea and words that spill onto paper into a little victory in a morning where you thought stubbing your toe would be all you could accomplish.
Not to totemize it- but since having been diagnosed with cancer, a cancer that whispers death very quickly into the women who are diagnosed with it, writing and choices are even more important. I can say that “I refuse to die.” or something like that or I can fill my days with moments that are meaningful and victorious in their own right. For me, a lot of those moments include words. My own words. Which is something that makes me keep going.
A few friends call me a glitter tornado. I feign ignorance but there’s a reality to it. We’ve seen a lot of bad in my life. I don’t try and cover that up, but I want to move on in the best possible way. To me that means, make your days happier, brighter, and yes, sparklier. I want things to be bright, cheerful, happy, and better than they were before. I think we all deserve it. So, fine, I am a glitter tornado.
I believe, that when we die, we return to the stars and look down on the things we have created and help them along. It’s a romantic notion, yes. But when you have beautiful children and beautiful words and you want them both to make the world a little less ugly and cruel, I would rather be a star that winks at you when you need a smile in the night.
“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” –The Little Prince by Antoine de Sait-Exupery
Sara is the queen of sparkle and glitter. She is Glinda to the core, you know. You should follow her on twitter and read her awesome writing over at her blog Domestic Type.