Monday, February 2, 2015

Neruda, the Beach, and Line Dried Sheets

An apology, of sorts. I left my blog with a post in October, and without fully intending to quit, I did. Without a further word. And for that, I am sorry.

Anything not used is going to atrophy, but left unused too long, it will also leave an ache, a vague sense of grief for something lost. It took me a while to pin it down, but I realized writing meant more to me than I had ever admitted. I needed to get back to it, even though it felt like I was wrestling body, soul, and spirit to get something down on paper.

My wise and delightful blogging and Facebook friend, Pearl, came to Texas and we spent a weekend on the beach to write. To throw around pleasing words. To read and reread exquisite sentences from Neruda and Chabon. To laugh at talking grackles, muse about lutefisk, and enjoy the passing stream of humanity.

When I slipped out onto the balcony with notebook in hand just as the sun pushed its way above the horizon, with chilly air and a faint salt spray opening my nostrils and loosening those channels I had plastered over in October, I was ready.

I wrote longhand in two notebooks. I scratched through words, used arrows to insert new ones, and filled more than 26 pages in a rapid cursive/print hybrid.

I breathed in deeply at a pause and remembered. In our home, which had also been my grandparents’ home, my husband and I left intact a small cabinet filled with my grandma’s dishtowels, aprons, and other things. I rarely open it, but when I do, I bury my face deeply in those towels and aprons. I inhale until my lungs are full. It smells like them. I can still faintly detect my grandma’s perfume, the aromas of her Sunday dinners, their line dried sheets.

That is how it felt on this balcony in those early morning hours. I inhaled deeply and caught a whiff of something that is just as much a part of me as those Sunday dinners and my grandma's perfume, as my grandma and grandpa and those line dried sheets.

And so I’m back.  Good to see you, friends.

To read Pearl's account of how we got lost on the beach, go here: I Think I Recognize That Dune

43 comments:

  1. Oh I am so excited to see you back here I have missed you the writer. Yes there is no escaping that you have to write. Love your words and WOW you and Pearl on the beach lucky girls indeed. I would have loved to be there meeting both writers I truly admire. HUGS welcome back my friend. Love the smell of my Mom's tea towels, I get t. HUG again. B

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    1. Buttons: It's SO good to be back! Thank you, friend- I've missed you, too.

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  2. "And so I’m back." These are among the most satisfying words anyone has written in a long time. You have been missed.

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    1. vanilla: Thank you, friend. It is so good to be back.

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  3. A welcome sight is thee.

    Hugs and happy week,
    Kelley~

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    1. Kelley: Thank you, my creative friend!

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  4. This is wonderful news, dear Shelly. I am very happy to know that you got your muse back and have decided to return to blogging after a too long absence. Your description of the recent breakthrough at the beach reminded me of times when I have felt the wind at my back, grabbed a pen, and filled stacks of papers with notes, scripts, sketches and storyboards for commercials and music videos that I later produced. The same has happened to me more recently during my blogging career. There is tremendous satisfaction in getting thoughts and ideas out on paper, organizing, editing, revising and refining them and presenting a finished piece of work.

    Welcome back, dear friend Shelly. No doubt the blogosphere is unfolding as it should.

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    1. Shady: Yes, I know you understand how the creativity in us locks in and just has to be expressed. I've missed your great music, as well, my friend. So very satisfying to be back!

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  5. Shelly, I am so glad you're back. I've missed your writing and your kind presence. Welcome!

    And how fun it must have been for you and Pearl to meet up! Whee!

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  6. jenny_o: It was a blast, and such a terrific way to get writing again. I suspect thinking of how we got lost on the beach is going to make me laugh until my last breath. Thank you, my friend!

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  7. I've been wondering when you'd be back. I figured you were too good a writer to stay away forever. I look forward to more of your writing. Take care.

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    1. Stephen: It gets in the blood, doesn't it? Thank you!

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  8. I've been thinking these past weeks that I needed to send you a message and say "DON'T STOP BLOGGING. PLEASE!" To have you back, and to have part of the impetus have been time with Pearl, well, that's just a gorgeous story in itself. Write, lady. Write.

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    1. Jocelyn: Next time, you will need to come. I am semi fluent in Minnesotan now, and I could teach you some Texan. And thank you!

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  9. What can be better than musing about lutefisk? I do it all the time. Welcome home.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie: How I've missed you friend! And doesn't everyone muse about lutefisk at one time or another?

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  10. You have a passion that can not be permanently shelved. I knew you'd be back!

    Life happens and we have to tend to it in batches that are sometimes bigger than usual. When it slacks up, we remember what it is that fulfills us.

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    1. Anita: Thank you so much, friend. I'm hoping to post regularly now, and I can't wait to get over to yours!

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  11. If there's anyone you want to join on the beach -- in snow boots, no less -- it's Shelly. We had a great time, from beginning to end.

    Hope you enjoy the wild rice as much as I enjoy the "Pearl" brewery art. :-)

    And I'm glad I helped you re-open Grandma's linen cabinet. YOU, my friend, are a line-dried sheet; and don't you forget it.

    XO,

    Pearl

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    1. Wild rice is on the menu in this household tonight! And what a rich weekend- one I will treasure always. And I think snowboots on the beach on a breezy, cool day are the perfect footwear. And Pearl, you are a true pearl.

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  12. OMGosh! You're back!! I'll read anything you write. :):)

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    1. Rita: Oh, how I've missed you and Miss Karma! Thank you!

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  13. Welcome back to the writing world, my friend. You belong here, I think.

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    1. Carol: It's good to be back, and I do feel like I fit in. Thank you!

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  14. Has I said to Pearl how cool is it that you got to meet

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    1. Jo-Anne: It was SO much fun! I highly recommend it~

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  15. I'm awake at an ungodly hour and couldn't go back to sleep, so I booted up the computer to come visit with you!!

    Ahhhhhhhhhh, line dried sheets and a faint whiff of grandma's perfume. This took me back to the 'good ol' days'. Nothing like down home memories that were never impressive or important....until we age.

    Great story...welcome back. Hope you write more as time allows.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: Girl, why can't you go back to sleep? That's awfully early, even for me! So good to hear from you again, my friend. And you are so right- we don't know the value of some things until we grow older.

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  16. I had wondered where you'd gone to and very much missed your posts, so welcome back.
    I don't think a blog ever dies, it's hard to get back to when you stop but then you kind of just pick up where you left off, I think?
    Well, yours will anyway as you have tons to write about now! And I look forward to reading all about it..... xx

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    1. jazzygal: Thank you, friend! It's so good to be back in the company of such wonderful people, like you. Can't wait to see what's been going on in your part of the world!

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  17. Shelly!! You're back!? We have missed you a great deal :)

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    1. Optimistic: Hey, friend! I've missed it, and am so glad to be back!

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  18. Glad you're back! I was wondering where you were. I missed your posts!

    I'll answer your question publicly next time I post, but I wanted to let you know that the piece I enjoy playing the most is the Valse Brillant in Ab Major by Chopin.

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    1. Sherry: I'm going to have to find that piece on itunes and listen to it now! Thank you!

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  19. Hi Shelly-well that last post was pretty heavy...I can understand why it would take awhile to come back. I'm glad you are back. I can't think of anything more delightful than hanging out with your and Pearl on a beach somewhere. Sum Beach:-)

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    1. Chicken: Hanging out with Pearl, even being lost with Pearl on the beach, was an utter blast. And thank you- I am so glad to be back!

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  20. Welcome back, Shelly! We've certainly missed you. Loved this post, such exquisite details. I could almost smell those Sunday dinners, I remember the ones at my grandparents' house. She used to make . . .
    Great. Now I'm sad and I miss my grandma.
    ;)

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    1. Dawn: :) Well, they are good memories, right? So good to be back- LOVED your Amish post!

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  21. Hi Shelly! I was so happy to see your post on my dashboard. You are one my favorites and I was disappointed that you disappeared. When I say you are one of my favorites, I don't just mean that I really like your blog (which I do), you are one of my favorite bloggers. If you would have just said that you were leaving to concentrate of writing, I would totally understand, because you are that good. If I had to describe your blog to somebody, I'd say that it is a writer's blog. Because that is what you do here, you write about life. I would describe Pearl the same way. It's great that you two got together.

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    1. Pat: Gosh, friend, I'm humbled by your wonderful words. Thank you! I feel the same about yours- always full of adventure and wonder. I love things that make me think, and yours always does. Good to be back!

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  22. Checking up on you before we get to visit!! I have been checking once in a while, only to find nothing...but to my pleasant surprise this morning, I see you again, and I'm smiling so big right now!! I'm so happy you are back. I always think "breaks" are good. They help to clarify what is important and what is not.

    SO happy you got to meet Pearl. How very special!!

    Can't wait to see you!

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    1. Jamie: And to meet you, too, was such a wonderful thing- one that still fills my heart!

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  23. This makes my heart sing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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