Because I have class this weekend, dear Readers, you must settle in and read the results of my writing practice. The following prompt comes from Natalie Goldberg’s book, Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. When I first read this prompt to my writing group I groaned audibly. “When I die, I will miss . . . ” Ugh! I didn’t want to write about dying. This was too depressing, too sad, too too too . . . oh, that monkey mind again. So, I set the timer for ten minutes and put pen to paper:
When I die I will miss my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister-in-law, my nephews. I will miss my sweetie. I will miss his smile, his skin, plucking the ingrown hairs from his chin. I will miss Earl Grey tea and Darjeeling and blueberries. I will miss blueberry tea with its Grand Marnier and Amaretto. I will miss being a woman with a curvaceous body and long, wavy hair. I will miss the way my ass moves when I dance and when I shimmy. I will miss Blues music, books, meditation, altar building and worrying over God. I will miss pow-wows and owl dances, round dances, intertribals, the sound of a big Earth Mother heartbeat drum. I will miss Indian singing. The voices of men and women hymning prayers in language I know in my body, but not in my head. I will miss Indians. Indian jokes, Indian laughter. I will miss being Indian. I will miss my sister and her children and all my aunties and uncles and cousins. I will miss my birth father and his son, who is my half-brother, but doesn’t want to be. I will miss my cats. I will miss whales, the sound of their breath when it cracks the surface of a wave. I will miss the ocean, weather, deserts, Hawaii, rain. Thunder. I will miss Tall Walking Man, Taos, the Pueblo, the mesa, the smell of sage in full bloom after it rains. I will miss clouds and the patter of rain on my window at night when I cannot sleep and want to. I will miss living and breathing and being human. I will miss laundry hanging on a clothesline and grass under my feet, the squish of mud between my toes in a freshly irrigated onion field and sand! I will miss sand! Course sand, fine sand, smooth sand, white, black and brown sand. I will miss the crunch of leaves and the crack of creme brulee as I hit it with a spoon. I will miss the sound of my fast moving pen across the page.
After writing, myself and other members of the group read our words aloud. In hearing all that people would miss about life, I realized that this prompt was far from somber. Instead of filling me with grief, it awakened me to life. I was reminded of all the beauty in the world, small and large, and all that I have to celebrate each day that I am blessed to take breath.
(Today’s photo was found at associatedcontent.com and is credited to ladyaustin).