The way back

by Jennifer on February 1, 2010

I walk a few steps, turn. Walk back across this room. Turn again.

I look down as I cross this space with my steps, study it like I’m looking for a lost contact or a straight pin or one of the tiny pieces of my soul that holds the rest of it together. There are pieces like that, you know. (Yes, of course you know.) I search for the words that I’ve lost, without any belief whatsoever that I will find them. My certainty that they’re gone for good is as strong as my wild hope that they aren’t.

Off and on for these last (almost) two months, I came back here, thinking I had things to say or, alternately, not having anything to say. I paced back and forth across these floorboards, hopinghopinghoping that a few words would have fallen in the cracks between them and that maybe I could tape those together into a collage or something, anything that would make sense or look pretty or maybe sound nice if read out loud.

So many of you write your way through your own hard times or uncertainty, and I admire you so much for that. You still manage to shape your words into loss and ache and joy somehow salvaged, paragraphs that melt and linger in the mouth like bittersweet chocolate. But when I needed them the most, my words were off somewhere playing a mean-spirited game of hide and seek. Thing was, I couldn’t even summon the energy to care all that much. Until I did. And then it started to bug the hell outta me.

Somewhere in there were the holidays and a long drive across states and states so that the kids could spend time with their father and so that we could  visit my family in Michigan and Missouri. Then January tripped over the threshold with its snowy boots and cold and it was time to get back to work on some things in my life that needed my attention.

I took myself offline for the most part so that, among other things, I would have more time to work on a new business.*

As the weeks unspooled, it became easier and easier to think of this place as something that used to be, a place where I used to come to write and get to know all of you. I wasn’t sure if I would come back and unlock the door and turn the sign from Back Soon to Open. In fact, the longer I stayed gone, the more I wondered if it was just better that way. But the more I thought about leaving, the less I wanted to go. Apparently, just the idea of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Over these two years since I began writing here, this blog has been many things to me. Blank page, confessional, touchstone, morning, midnight, warm blanket, dive bar, mirror, road trip, juke box, soapbox, backward glance, a pair of chairs and a view of the ocean, bridge, front porch, back fence, path, quiet room.

I’ve had the best company along the way, and in this time away, I’ve missed you. Sorry for staying away so long. Look, I brought cookies. (Okay, I didn’t, but I really should have…)

So these words are breadcrumbs. A little picked over by some winter birds maybe, and maybe without much substance. But even so, I think I can find my way back.


(Really excited about the new business, doing hand addressing for wedding and event invitations, place cards, menu cards, and more… It’s called  J. K. Lettersmith,  and I’d love it if you stopped by!)

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Harper February 2, 2010 at 12:35 am

When I saw Thursday Drive pop in my Google reader, I thought, ” Hmm, oh yeah, I remember you ” and quickly clicked to see what was happening in your world. It is great to see you here again and I am surprised that you ever doubt anything with regard to your words and self expression. As always you say so much and in such a lovely way.

Your new business looks pretty cool too. If ever anyone needed help with handwriting, it would be me. Mine was bad before email, but like many people, I seem to have forgotten how to hold a pen.

slouchy February 2, 2010 at 6:36 am

glad you’re back.

reluctantfarmchik February 2, 2010 at 6:55 am

Hey – I’ve been missing you . . . looks like your words did just fine finding their way back together and through you. Your new business with blog and website look really good – hope that takes off with a vengeance. Find a Bridal Fair in your area – they happen a lot in spring. You need a booth there.

Chris February 2, 2010 at 8:22 am

I’ve wondered where you’ve been! I was happy and surprised to see your post in my Reader this morning. I hope you’re well. 🙂

Finding words seems to be a common theme for several people lately. You found them beautifully for this post. Good luck with the new business. The site is very pretty.

Coco February 2, 2010 at 9:21 am

This post reminds of me of one of my favorite Ashleigh Brilliant quotes: “No matter how far you go from me, you can never pass the point of no return.”

It’s true. You never can.

I’m glad to see you back here, dear one.

Kellie C. February 2, 2010 at 9:22 am

missed reading your blog, glad to see you are here! Tell those little people hello!

jessica February 2, 2010 at 9:33 am

Ok, this is too weird. I was just thinking about you yesterday, wondering, “where is she?” and boom here you are with yet another beautifully written post. Good for u for starting a new business. I’m proud of you

Stick around, I missed you.


Gwen February 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Hello, lovely. How nice to see you around these parts again.

Jane Gassner February 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Nah, I didn’t wonder where you were. Just figured that like me, you were one of those who goes under the barn to lick your wounds. Also figured you knew that I knew and that I would wait for you to come out. Glad you have, but feel free to go back in if you need to.

PS Love the new site

San Diego Momma February 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Missed you.
And your words, which surely are never lost.

Also? AWESOME new biz? I love the ad too.

Indigo February 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm

(A Warm Where Have You Been HUG) I’ve missed you sweet friend and often think about you. I’ll take your words in any shape you’re willing to give them – picked over by the winter birds, stomped on in anger, cried on in happiness or sorrow. It’s not just your words – it’s you. It’s always been you I’ve come here to visit. Welcome back. (Hugs)Indigo

flutter February 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm

love you. So large.

Jenn @ Juggling Life February 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

To everything there is a season . . .

It’s wonderful to have you back. I believe I remember you posting a note or some other piece of your handwriting here once and it was gorgeous. What a great idea–I hope it really takes off.

Slow Panic February 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

sometimes we have to be quiet to find our voice again. or you do. i’m just writing sh#t like i always have….. glad to see you here again.

Accentia February 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

Thanks for your comment on my blog! You were my first person who doesn’t know me irl comment. I am loving your blog!!

6512 and growing February 3, 2010 at 10:07 am

Thanks for your comment on my blog; glad to find you in your state of returning. Your words are beautiful and I look forward to coming back and learning more about you and your family.

jenrantsraves February 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

So bizarre to read this today! I have been contemplating starting a business, and I am reading a book about it, which is just making me feel overwhelmed. Details tend to get me off track. How did you research? Did you ask someone for help with anything? Did you have to apply for a license, and EIN number, and all that mumbo jumbo? I envy you for the fact that you just did it. Good for you! I hope it is a huge success.

the mama bird diaries February 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Love the new business.
And always great to hear from you.

denise February 4, 2010 at 5:13 am

wow. wow. wow. all the din in my house stopped as i submerged in your words. you’ve got amazing talent. my first time visiting–thanks for stopping my site.

tysdaddy February 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

Sometimes, just walking the floorboards yields its own reward. For it’s not in the crumbs that we find a way, but it is in the searching.

Hugs, my friend.

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios February 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I’ve been thinking about you, trying to respect your need for silence and space.
I’ve been blogging for five years now and keep wondering if I’ve come to the end of the road. Then I put together one more post.

As Anne Lammott says “Bird by bird.”

Peace to you.

Momisodes February 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I’m so glad to see you back.
You have been here since I began blogging years ago, and your writing has always been my greatest source of inspiration.
I have missed you much more than you know.

Looking forward to checking out your new business!

Ree February 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Bootstraps, my darling –

Bootstraps with beautiful penmanship.

phd in yogurtry February 7, 2010 at 11:44 am

I prefer your breadcrumbs to some of the whole loaves out there. And I understand your absence. You’ve been through upheaval and that can be draining physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. So take your time, do what you need to do and after that, only what you want to do.

Best of luck with your new business. You’re talented in so many ways.

Boliath February 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Happy to see you around xx February 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

So glad you’re back!!! We’ll take any breadcrumbs you throw our way!

Heather February 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

You and your lovely words have been missed. Happy to see you again!

Shelliott February 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

Glad you’re back…one word at a time. ?

nicole February 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I’ve been away a while too, but coming back here, I find your ‘voice’ as strong as ever.

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