As a child, the letter “e” looked like a profile
with a perpetual smile.
Whenever I saw my first and middle names side by side,
I envisioned them grinning from ear to ear.
You are invited to crack a smile as well and nod your head even if
this thought process makes no earthly sense.
Perhaps being named Helen Lelia in honor of my
grandmothers was reason enough to beam with joy.
My story is strung together by paragraphs composed of
embraced and ignored words.
I am not a shade different from the majority of writers
who proclaim they “have always written”.
I spent hours practicing and changing my handwriting.
I can’t recall a time when I didn’t keep a journal and
I remember fondly a pink 5-year diary
with a gold lock and key.
It remained fairly empty as the lines were so narrow and my
handwriting was not.
Who could possibly summarize a day in three slender lines?
I had a childhood friend who moved from my hometown of Pullman,
Washington right at the beginning of our grade school years.
We wrote letters our entire childhood and through our teen years.
Oh how I wish those letters were still in my possession. Sigh.
It’s doubtful I will ever abandon writing letters and cards even in this
age of technological immediacy.
My Aunt Lelia was a creative who defied definition.
She possessed the most amazing handwriting I have ever seen.
When our family would visit her, she would hand us copies of her latest
If the timing was perfect, I tagged along whenever she went into the newspaper
office and I was hypnotized by the murmur of writers and
chatter of typewriters.
She gave me my first Writers Market when I was in late middle school.
I read it from cover to cover as if it were a novel.
Thumbing through page after page, I tried to decipher this new vocabulary of query
letters, submissions and SASE(self-addressed stamped envelope).
I dreamed of the day someone wanted to pay pennies for my words or
allow me to write the squishy centers of Hallmark cards.
Sadly my aunt departed too soon, she would have loved blogging.
She would have adored laptops and social media!
During my years in college, I often felt a nudge to send friends
cards or letters.
At the time, I would not understand where the compulsion resided
but I would heed the plea.
I would sit down, allow my thoughts to quiet and
release my pen to glide wherever
Once deposited in a mailbox, the letter might cross my
mind once or twice but for the most part,
I was able to release the words to the postal service
for their safe delivery.
Over the years, I would hear a common collection of words from friends.
“Your letter came at just the right time.”
“I can’t believe the words you wrote in that card.”
“How did you know to write what you wrote?”
I would express gratitude for the words being meaningful
but I had no recollection.
I couldn’t grasp adequate words to explain.
I didn’t recognize nor did I pay attention to the reality
of witnessing the Spirit and the crazy mystery of God.
The signposts pointing to God were there, the words flowing
from my pen were indicators,
I chose to take a detour away from words.
To be continued…