I’m wrapped in the sunny shadow of an afternoon, the car windows tempering the wind and holding in the warm.  I stare out at the powerlines above, and I hear it . . . the whisper of a story. 4387746215

So I begin to sing.  A winding tale . . . of . . . of. . . I can’t remember.

But this was my experience as a child on road trips . . . the way the line of power brought story-song to mind.  These are my first memories of knowing I wanted to write.

I cannot remember at all what the stories were about. I can’t remember if I sang them outloud or to myself.  My parents never mentioned me singing if that’s any indication.

But that experience – of watching those electrified strings and using them to guide my thoughts on a story – that I remember.


On one family trip, we stayed at a hotel – one of those uniform rooms where the bathroom seems to be cut back into a cave of sheetrock.  I don’t know why we were at a hotel – most of our travels involved campgrounds or family living rooms. But this night, we were in a hotel.

Actually, I don’t remember the night – I just remember the next morning – 30 miles from the hotel – when I realized that my “boo banky,” the one with the satin on the top, was still rustled under the hotel blankets.  I told my parents, but we were too far along to go back.

I cried, and as I sat behind my dad in the driver’s seat, I looked out the window and watched the power lines . . .

Their shine, their ongoing line, the way they stilled my mind and cradled my sad heart so that I could write lines of my own.


Now, puzzles slow my thoughts, calm my racing heart when the list of “to do”s outpaces my will to take it slow.  In the soft curves of their tabs and slots, I find breath and words again.  Curved this time, like the slight slope of a cable tied between two poles.

Sometimes what I most need as a writer is the ability to focus the racing, loud part of myself on something else . . . so that the whisper of words can climb out from behind the raucous nature of doing.

Sometimes, I just need power lines or a thousand puzzles pieces. . . . to be able to hear.

What calms your mind so that you can hear the words?

In my February newsletter, which goes out Monday, I will be offering 25% off (a savings of $75) for one seat in each of my March writing workshops.  To be eligible, just sign up for the newsletter at the top right-hand corner of this page. Thanks.