I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently. Much of it has to do with my writing and taking it to the next level–becoming a published author. As writing has been at the forefront of my mind, fittingly, so have quills and inkwells. I’ve found myself almost subconsciously, and quite uncontrollably, attracted to them, stumbling upon them in both familiar and unfamiliar places and, truly, taking notice. Each time I gaze upon the pair, the symbolism and the private meaning they hold just for me feels like a secret shared only through a sacred bond. It’s become quite a love affair, one that I don’t want to end.
Last week, I shared my new obsession with my husband, telling him of my desire to one day own a quill and inkwell set (in addition to an easel, stretched canvas, paint brushes and acrylics…but I’ll save that passion for a separate post). I’m certain the gravity of my revelation escaped him, because he nodded, said “uh-huh,” and continued about his business on the computer. Despite my school girl need to “blurt it all out,” my secret romance had, essentially, remained secret.
Today, Thomas, my no-longer-kindergartener, found a big goose quill by the pond near our house. And he brought it home as a present for me. He was so pleased with his discovery. He was even more elated with his plan to gift it to me. He told me all I needed was some ink and I could write with it. I was amazed. How does a newly turned 6-year-old know what a quill is or how it was used? I don’t think I was aware of quills and inkwells at such a tender age.
Both my father and my oldest son tried to discourage his sweet offering, telling him this lovely plume was filled with germs. But, I, for once, saw beyond the possible salmonella contamination, and saw only the beauty in this kind, heart-felt gesture of a child. After saving him from all the insensitivity that men can sometimes bring, Thomas and I took the feather to the bathroom and we washed it, over and over again. While we carefully lathered it, we discussed what a lovely pen it would make. I never asked him how he knew these large feathers were once used as writing instruments. I never even asked him how he knew ink could be purchased in a container. I just let the moment flow…just as the sudsy water flowed over this perfect gift.
And as we talked, washed and dried the feather, here was this imagery again…only this time in a familiar place, a more personal setting…intimate surroundings. The object of my secret love affair was, again, staring me in the face, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it all meant. The timing of his precious gift couldn’t have been more meaningful. I’ve been struggling internally…really struggling. I’ve been tussling with my purpose, reevaluating my dreams, reexamining my approach. All this searching, redefining, transitioning…it has caught me completely off guard.
As I gazed upon his precious face, filled with so much excitement and innocence, I found myself thinking, “Is this a sign? Could this be the answer I’ve so desperately been looking for?” Because, in reality, I have been awaiting a sign, some miraculous epiphany, some mystical answer to my questions and confusion.
Why am I confused, you ask? Well, I’ve been thinking of packing up my floral designing tools and pushing Creole Magnolia Creations to the side, at least long enough to focus on the next phase of my writing. Did I just type that out loud? Yes. I did, and it’s true. However, I’ve been struggling with this possibility. I don’t like the thought of accepting this answer. You see, I dream of flowers everyday. I study the arrangements of floral artists I admire; I create new designs in my head; I toy with a myriad of design concepts. My passion for floral artistry is very present—each and everyday, it is present…that has not changed. But what also has not changed is my shortage of time, my large family and the demands and responsibilities that come with marriage and motherhood.
My crazy life doesn’t leave a whole lot free time, and when there are a few extra moments at the end of long day, I feel the need to fill them with family, quiet, and some much needed relaxation.
Some might ask, “Why can’t you continue to do both?” Well, the aforementioned gives the answer to that. Furthermore, I’ve been attempting to do both all along, and look where it’s gotten me.
And so here I am with a still-on-the-ground floral design business, an unpublished children’s book manuscript and a bitter pill labeled “Focus.” Yes…Focus. I’ve been resisting that for, well, forever. I’ve had many well meaning individuals advise me. And their advice all sounds the same. “Yada yada…blah blah…Focus on one thing…wonk wonk…blah-zay bland.” It feels too confining for me. Like a loss of freedoms. Like I’m being told that I can’t soar to unknown heights…that if I fly, then I have to do so cautiously low. Like I’m only capable of doing one thing well…something I know is completely untrue.
My husband and kids are the longest things I’ve ever done. Marinate on that. I’ve always spread my wings far and wide…allowed myself to experience a multitude of things. I love to learn and grow, and when I feel stagnant and unchallenged, I move on. I dig deeper, explore new interests and add another layer to the complex woman that is before you today.
Some call that fickle, flighty or uncommitted. I call it passion…desire…living! I am passionate about and in love with so many things, and I can’t wait to do them all! And, when faced with the decision to choose only one, I just can’t. How do you choose which passion to pursue? How do you willfully walk away from one, even if only for a short while, without feeling as if you’ve abandoned it? Especially when it is so strong within you?
That’s where I’ve been…in my head and my heart, that is. Struggling, deciding…
And then came the gift. From a child. A child who knew just what to give and what to say, without really knowing at all. A child who, unbeknownst to anyone else, essentially, walked up to me and said,
“Here. Now write.”