Monday, May 24, 2010

The Search for Sidewalks Continues

It's been a while, hasn't it?

The past two weeks have been full of practical, everyday busyness. E is turning 3 tomorrow, and we had his birthday party on Saturday. We had ceiling fans installed and I'm currently fighting it out with Sears, which for some reason is having quite a difficult time figuring out how to get my new dishwasher to my house. In other words, normal life is happening here.

But other things have been happening too, and while they are not mine to write about, they have filled my head and heart in ways that have made it difficult to think of anything else. For the past two weeks, I have been afraid to write, afraid to read and comment on blogs, because writing and reading and commenting would make me think, and the last thing I wanted was to open the floodgates of my thoughts. I've turned my attention to other writing projects that I could approach without emotion, that don't require the reflectiveness of blogging.

I named my blog Searching for Sidewalks because when we moved to our current town, I was quite literally searching for sidewalks. I wanted to live in a neighborhood where there were sidewalks, and I expected those sidewalks would lead somewhere - parks, coffee shops, restaurants. Instead, I found isolated, self-contained "developments", located off of busy main roads that were unsafe to walk along due to the lack of sidewalks. The stray stretches of sidewalk that you find here and there tend to lead nowhere. To me, sidewalks have become emblematic of a life I left behind when we moved here, and a life that I hope to live again. But right now, more than anything, the sidewalklessness of this town seems emblematic as well. A stray stretch of sidewalk here and there, giving you a glimmer of hope, but ultimately leading nowhere.

As much as I feel I can't breathe in my sidewalkless subdivision, while driving my car yet again to the grocery store, the breaths I take are real, and I am grateful for them. There is progress happening here, in fits and starts perhaps, but progress. I finally finished Oscar Wilde's biography. I submitted another article for publication (most likely fruitless, but I'm trying to embrace the failure). I have another writing project underway, and while the idea of making a real attempt at developing a writing career fills me with fear, it is the fear of standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing that when I fling myself off the edge, I will not sink into empty air, but instead fly into the forceful winds of possibility.

And so after yet another reminder that life can change in an instant, and there are no guarantees beyond today, I now resume my search for sidewalks.


  1. Three things:
    1) Happy Birthday to E!
    2) I almost didn't move to our neighborhood because there were no sidewalks. But there are ones within a block (that actually lead to real places) so I relented for the fenced-in backyard
    3) I'm making a real attempt at developing my writing career as well and am also filled with fear and possibility.

  2. Jamie - I've missed you and your writing and am sorry that your heart and head have been filled with heavy things. Here's wishing for existential sidewalks that lead you exactly where you wish to go professionally and personally. Oh, and happy birthday to your son!

  3. "There are no guarantees beyond today." Yes. And that makes your quest for sidewalks, concrete and figurative, all the more meaningful. Glad to "hear" your voice today.

  4. Sidewalks. I yearned for them too. But even when you have them, you have to use them. (Literally in our neighborhood, it's sad.) Good for you for leaping into possibility. The only true failure is not trying.
    I hope the burdens lift.

  5. In our own ways we all understand your journey, and we'll be here for you however you need us. Thinking of you!