Without You, There is No Story

 

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

 

Welcome to The Astronaut Wife. I am so glad you are here. For me, this has been my happy place, which is kind of odd, perhaps. But it feels like home.

You see, I love writing more than just about anything, save my son and husband. I love a good story, too, and strive to tell it like it is. There is a price that comes with this, I realize. Okay, maybe more than one.

Here are a few: the lack of privacy, the inability to take back what you have already published, and the worry that I will say more than I “should.”

If you have read my recent essay on Motherwell Magazine, however, then you won’t be surprised when I say I battle against the “shoulds” in this world. I lived so long encased in “should” that it became a second and third skin. And I am still shedding those layers.

It’s hard to know what the boundaries are and who set them for us. But I know that when I was a senior in high school, Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye, saved my life. That character was the closest thing I had to an honest perspective at the time.

Not long after that, The Real World came out with its first season. Yes, I am that old. I just turned 46 a few days ago, in fact. And I was obsessed with the realness, the open conflicts, and the boldness I saw in strangers who were willing to share “their stuff” with the world.

Anne Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, and Ta-Nehisi Coates are a few recent loves who bare their secrets on the page, with eloquence, humor, and/or poetry. I read other lesser known writers, too, those in Motherwell, Literary Mama, Mothers Always Write, Mutha Magazine, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Sun. I look for honesty and beauty and can spend endless minutes scrolling through articles and essays on my phone. So, it’s no wonder this is the type of writing I aspire to create.

While I still love baring my soul on this blog, reader, I am focusing a bit more on my essay writing these days and trying to build up a reasonable portfolio, so I can publish a book of essays one day. As a part-time English professor, this would be hot (insert the latest cool term where hot is, if I didn’t get it right).  So, if you only find me posting once or twice a month, this is why.

Give me a minute, and I will try to return, if only to share another bit of truth with the world. You can also find links to my other writing at the top of my home page. Or follow me on Twitter @ENewdom or my Astronaut Wife page on FB.

I am so glad you are here, reader. Without you, there is no story.

 

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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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