I read the news while I should be writing. As in social media and NYT’s and texts from friends. It’s how I find out a poet who I don’t know, that’s how I find out Anya Silver died. As I find out she died, I read a poem of hers. And I love it. And I look for more poems before I find the cancer news. Before I calculate that she lived a long time with cancer. How I think I hope she lived well and I bet she did and then my mind is a trail of things I think I should write so I can be OK with writing about a woman I don’t know who is gone too soon.
We are all gone too soon when it comes to the people who love us.
Is it too late to salvage writing my text for my work assignment? Probably, but now I must write my own writing to wrap my mind around news of a poet who died that I don’t even know. Because I love her words and that’s what is left behind.
This morning I interviewed a man who helps young adults figure out their life paths. Or more like their next step paths. I write about this stuff all the time: guiding kids into their lives. I laugh with this man about wanting my own gap year, just past the time when my kids soft launch into the wide world. I’m always making up my life as I go along. What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?
All this dovetails into the random post I saw about a poet I don’t know and that word comes up and bites me: cancer.
I had a friend who died of cancer when I was 13. It was the same year that my young uncle, age 23, drown. Drown. That’s a hard word to say out loud. And when I say it I have to add in my brother-in-law who also drown at a young age and then I’m drowning in death.
All death tells me on a sunny afternoon is that I definitely should go paddle boarding tonight. Summer is short, the light is waning, it is August. The words will be left behind. Paddle.