In The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, long-time maid Aibileen keeps her mind sharp by writing each and every day. It was the advice her teacher had given her when she had left school early in order to help her mother at home. I imaging many of those writing stints might have been like Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Fridays: a few moments of quiet taken for herself after a long day of caring for others, first in her employer's household and then in her own. To keep my own mind from turning to mush, I'm trying this again: writing for five minutes (ish) on a single prompt, no editing, and linking up with all the other brave women writers who took a pause from their own lives to do the same. Care to join in?
Here's what I came up with this week:
I was born to a rooted existence. In spite, or perhaps because, my mother's family had moved often as she grew, my family stayed put. My parents still live in the pre-war home my father bought before their marriage; I and my siblings moved bedrooms throughout our childhood, but never houses, cities, or schools. Naturally, adulthood gave me a longing to leave - to give in to the idea that things would be better if only they were new. Life twists, however, have their wisdom; flying the nest meant leaving the province, but following to a city where I was already known by a few dear transplants who had proceeded me.
I remember that first drive coming into Edmonton. The main highway between it and my long-held home of Saskatoon brings one into the city through the industrial area. My first glimps of my new home came through the smog of refineries, trainyards, mechanic's shops. I couldn't help but wonder just what I'd gotten myself into. Who could live in this ugly place?
The next day, I moved into my own neighbourhood. Like my parents' home, it was near the local university, with pre-war houses, the river valley, and elms that arched over the streets like Ents play "London Bridge". Walking that street, I understood my mother's rootedness: in an unfamiliar city, it was these reminders of home that spoke to me - here, too, could I belong.