Monday - something light to start the week. A bit of self-care, creativity challenge or the like.
Tuesday - telling notes for a specific story or kind of story. Tips and tricks to help you think about what you're telling and how.
Wednesday - my usual #tellinglife post, looking at some of the more personal aspects of storytelling and its role in my life.
Thursday - a dip into some of the issues facing contemporary storytelling or a dive into some of the more unusual applications of storytelling.
Friday - my usual personal post about life following the death of my husband
Saturday - the storytelling coach offers a tip you can use right now. An example of the kinds of tools I encourage my students to use.
You remember how much I love words. I know it made you nuts sometimes, the ways I would play with language through puns and other silly things. One of the things I love most is how a single word can carry so many different definitions.
Recently I've been thinking about the word still. It has all kinds of meanings. Some aren't relevant to this letter (for instance I have no plans to build a still in the backyard) but some... one word simply takes my breath away.
Still. I will never forget how still you were after.
You who always had such life in your face and body.
You who, even when you were deep in thought or asleep, was the focal point of the room.
You who danced and moved with such grace.
You were so still. It took awhile for the stillness to fall into you, a while for your body to know that it was in a different state but soon enough, there it was.
I remember your stillness and your motion both.
Still. I will always treasure those still times between us. Those times when it was only us and the room was quiet, dust motes drifting in the light. Each of us in our own thoughts, me in a book and you in your computer, the stillness would shimmer and connect us like a web. We would look at each other, smile and then return to shared stillness. We had those times in the hospital, too, mostly at night. We would hold hands and I would listen to your breath, wondering if you were awake, not wanting to disturb you if you were, but connected there in the dark.
Still. After you died I struggled to find stillness and it was in those quiet moments that I first began to find myself again. Not the moments when I was so exhausted with grief that I couldn't move but the moments of deliberate quiet. In meditation at first and then more broadly when I held myself still enough that I could hear the world, hear myself, hear you. I still find you there, when I still my thoughts and calm my breath, that is where I feel you close.
Still. Here I am, more than two years after you left this earth. I am still here. A year ago that would have been said with resignation. I am still here. Now there is light in again, and gratitude. I am still here.
I can't help but think of the Commodores' song, Still. When it first came out I was a child and swooned over the longing in those words, in Lionel Ritchie's voice. Now I hear it and I think yes, I understand that now though so much has changed. Yes, time has passed, I am in love with a good man who is not you but wholly himself. That doesn't mean I don't miss you and long for you and still need you, even though the you I long for is no longer here. That's okay. I'd rather live with this ache than never have had you at all.
Even with the rhinestones and big hair and the fact that this is a song about a relationship unlike ours, this song captures some of what it is to love someone who is no longer there. I know we listened to it together and held hands. I know we are still holding hands, even if I can't always feel you.
I do love you. Still.