Lulls, Blackouts and My Aunt

Titles are the biggest hurdle, as do first sentences and first paragraphs. The pause between the shoring up of ideas, snippets of words and the rush of energy that comes when one is about to write — that is exactly where I am at the moment. There is no better remedy than sleep, daydreaming and the comforts of solitary reading. Writing down snippets, imagining words shape-shifting in my head and daring to imagine a life other than the reassuring routines of motherhood and a job. At moments when I feel this unease, the most comforting memory would be the blackouts of the eighties. I lived in the province and it was an unusual place where people so citified believed in midnight monsters and saw unnerving mirages of mythic personas and devils on rooftops. Those blackest of nights were also evenings of bonfires and quiet waiting, and my aunt’s reassuring company. I loved going to the toilet by candlelight and catching my profile on the bathroom wall – a childish assembly of forehead, small nose and restless pout. Those were years of intense, inner quiet because they were pensive transitions between the innocence of childhood and the flowering awareness of adolescence. I knew I was apart from classmates welcoming their womanhood with grace and ease as I was warding it off and chose to live the women who inhabit the books I read. And they were women of different times, some dancing to precarious rhythms but all biding only their conscience. Recalling them, I know these imagined ideals come together in my aunt’s persona and I realize in quiet humility that it is her strength, independence and sharp discernment that I strive to emulate in this womanly life.

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