Today, my personal essay, Artifacts, was published by The Cobalt Review, an online literary journal. I want to share with you a bit of this writer’s journey, one that I couldn’t have made without you.
An affirmation, not a rebuke
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, Washington
Many years ago, I bought a birthday card, one I knew I would never send. On one side of the front, a bright collage of a female form, both disjointed and celebratory. On the other side, the small print words: If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: And interspersed with them, large heavy black lettering that proclaims: I came to live out loud.
I stood the card where I could see it on my desk. But, after awhile, it seemed less like an affirmation and more like a rebuke because I wasn’t doing it. So it went into a box with some old photos and other memorabilia. I didn’t want to get rid of it, nor did I want its daily reminder of how I was letting myself down. It wasn’t helpful.
Then the world changed. I started the Corona Support Blog, co-authored a book, and began to submit my work for publication. I got so used to nice kiss-off notes that when I got the email from the Cobalt Review non-fiction editor saying they would be “delighted to publish” my essay, I had to read it a couple of times before my brain could accurately translate its message.
I won’t say that putting myself out there like this isn’t scary. Today was a huge one for me in all kinds of ways. But this blog has helped prepare me to step out more fully as a writer, and I am grateful to all of you for being on this journey with me.You have helped make me brave enough to do this.
A few months ago, I dug the card out of the box. It is now on the refrigerator, among my gallery of photographs of friends and grandchildren, right in front, where I can see it multiple times a day. It no longer feels like a reprimand.