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.

Congress closes in on a $900 billion Covid relief deal as Americans await aid—CNBC

Senate Republican uses hearing to pursue baseless election fraud claims as Trump tweets approval—ABC News

North Carolina GOP lawmaker urges Trump to suspend civil liberties to keep power: ‘Invoke the Insurrection Act’—WaPo

December 16, 2020

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.

Photo by Ruth Neuwald Falcon

9 Comments

  1. Ruth, I read your Artifacts piece twice (and likely will again) because I felt I missed so much the first time. I appreciate your profound and heartfelt sharing of your experience with the world — and can only imagine the feelings of vulnerability that went into the process. I’m glad the sending it, waiting, and now publication is a part of your “living out loud” since you’ve well earned the right to do so — from the rooftops and the basement and all the levels between them! Thank you for putting it out there and trusting yourself enough to share the intensity of this experience with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth, I just read Artifacts. I will read it again. I fell transported there into that room, on the upper West side. I felt the love, and the intensity. Oh my goodness! The writing is so descriptive and palpable, and the content, so intense and real. I again felt transported there. While I celebrate your accomplishments of being published, creating the blog during these difficult times, and completing your book, a big congratulations are in order… yet it feels awkward to say ‘congratulations’ in the revealing of such a vulnerable memory. Rather than a celebratory congratulations, I want to acknowledge in a less celebratory and more subtle sensitive way… Acknowledging your courage, strength, resilience, keen perception. It is a remarkable celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s