“Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life ... But there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details.” — Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the BonesI’m starting to think that we may even squeeze more lives out. As I worked intensely on writing, editing and polishing The Albuquerque Years, I essentially relived my preschool years, experiencing more richness and meaning than I did the first time through
Right now, I’m in Austin, visiting our daughter, whose second daughter will be born tomorrow. In an unexpected way, I’m reliving those Albuquerque years in yet another way. This afternoon I spent some time in the backyard with soon-to-be big sister Sarah, who turned two in July. Sarah spent about half an hour arranging small rocks in various patterns, tumbling them down a small statue, showing them to me, tossing them around, and talking continuously about what she was doing. “I put rocks in circle ... This rock is brown ... This rock is gray ... Now I do circle here ... You make circle too.”
As I watched her, I had a tremendous sense of deja vu that I may not have experienced if I hadn't been writing so recently of my own memories, which kicked in about the age Sarah is now. Her intense involvement with that simple pile of stones, and the way she used these natural objects to entertain herself and practice all her mushrooming skills (i.e., counting, colors, shapes, conversation) for such a long time was contagious. I delighted in those rocks as fully as she did. I was transported back to a time when toys were whatever one had at hand, and none had batteries or made contrived noise.
Yes, I can go home again, for at least a few hours or days, and I’m squeezing extra joy out of what would be a captivating experience in any event, by comparing these moments with Sarah with my own memories, freshly reawakened by my writing.
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal