Just returned from a blissful New Year’s celebration with my VA family and I am full. Full, because I stepped out on faith, did something new, and reaped the benefits of that newness. Save for the two New Years I spent at Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Cannady family has always spent New Years in the quiet of our home, wrapped in what we believed to be the safety of our spaces, ushering in the new year with prayers, hugs, and promises we intended to collect. This new year’s day was different, still met with the hugs, the prayers, and the promises, but also dance, a little sipping, the shortest and tightest dress I’ve worn in years, the music of my extended family’s cheers, the music of some not-so-danceable (but we danced anyway) tunes, and the realization that the idea of safety does not have to reside in one space. It can reside in places filled with hearts that love so much and so hard, nothing untoward can reach in.
I promised I would be updating this blog throughout my revision and writing journey, but 2014 held days, weeks, and months of crippling writing, rewriting, and revision. It held moments of fright, when the words on the page became nights’ terrors and days’ intrusions. It held the constant reminder that memoir writing is a beast, never tamed, but one we struggle to walk alongside, all cautiousness and bravery in one body.
With the inundation of one national and global travesty after another, 2014 held me as an untethered, bouncing between moments of balance and complete abandon, as the PTSD of it all squeezed breath, voice out of me. So, I definitely needed a change. Despite the fears of bad weather, bad driving (Anyone who has driven through I-495 and I-95 during a holiday week knows exactly what I’m talking about), and newness, the Cannadys hit the road and loved every bit of it, especially the beach with its salty scent and constant rumble, that which always reminded me as a girl, I could be movement, fluid, penetrable, and whole at the same time. I needed that reminder for this coming year, as some of my innermost thoughts are introduced to the world in the form of memoir.
With this new “newness” and uncertainty, I return to the old that carried me through one of the most difficult times. Alongside my talented, intelligent, and devilishly handsome Dereck, I’m returning to the process that got me through writing, revising, and defending a five-chapter dissertation in five months, while teaching an overload along with two online classes, and being mommy and wife to the Cannady Clan; I’m returning to my “one-a-day”pill that always kept my anxiety away. Dereck and I have committed to writing at least one page a day or for him, one poem a day for the entire year. We’re allowing ourselves to write crap, to write masterpieces, to write at the brink of dawn or during the last seconds of the day, but we will write, together, even though miles separate us.
That “one-a-day” concept is what had me, against earlier fears, opening the new year with my loves, wearing a dress I won’t ever wear in the state of PA, and dropping it like it was hot so many times, I’m certain I left parts of “it” on the dance floor. It found me embracing the new, holding tightly to the old, fluid, one day, one page at a time.