Outrunning lightning

“The safest place to be in a rain storm is in the car,” I remember my dad telling me. I must have been four or five at the time. To this day, that is one of the safest moments of my childhood. Hanging onto my baby pillow, with a feeling in my belly that I could outrun lightning.

Perhaps that’s why I have moved so many times in my life. Perhaps why I have pushed to move into a new position or find a new employer so soon after establishing myself. I am not quite sure what being rooted really is, except from the viewpoint of a moving vehicle.

I am about to teach literature at FCC next semester. And am returning to a rootedness in my soul that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I am finally feeling like reading literature is a valid way to pass the time again, after years of finding it frivolous or impractical. Don’t get me wrong. I read constantly, but mostly news articles or essays – all good stuff indeed. But novels and poetry. Those were earlier loves in my life that have been superseded my weightier topics of world politics and real life issues.

I know I will always be a writing teacher, but I am actually feeling a sense of going home. Almost as if it’s safe to step out of the car now. Shelter might just reside in a book waiting to be read on my nightstand.

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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