This piece took me about three years to write. I finished the first draft and then stuffed it in the (metaphorical) drawer. I took it out every now and again to tinker with it but I struggled with it quite a bit. It was one of those essays that just wouldn’t come together. Finally, last Spring I hunkered down and got it to a place where I felt I could say, “Eh, good enough! Let’s send ‘er out!” So I’m really excited to share that she’s found a home with Fathom Magazine.
Too Small the First
Sometimes, things that are familiar become unfamiliar. Something that you’ve long known with clarity and keenness becomes to you opaque and filmy. Usually, it’s gradual, this process. A quiet shifting of tectonic plates in the dark deep spaces of the earth. Microscopic movements far beneath your feet. Other times, it can be swift. Something that had always been yours to hold turns, in an instant, to quicksilver in your hands. You look down in wonder, in amazed silence, your mouth a small O, as it rushes between your fingers and departs from you forever.
What happened to me was both fast and slow. A few years ago I was in church on a Sunday morning, singing a song I had sung at least a dozen times before, and found I was suddenly unable to sing. Something that had been churning within me for years, maybe even decades, rushed up all at once and the words turned to ash inside my mouth. It didn’t scare me. Nor did it cause me much alarm or discomfort, really. Rather, there was the sensation of stillness and quiet clarity as the words of Emily Dickinson arrived in place of the song, as though they were a small pebble tossed out over still water, epiphanic circles rippling.
To read the full piece, hop over here.