It’s Hard To Be A Writer

I know it’s much more difficult to write about ones life than it is to pen a novel. The latter is fantasy, make believe. Journeys you take in your mind that release you from your own reality.

Facing the truth in front of your typewriter is another story. Sometimes is extremely painful to write about ones own life’s reality.  Those events are never erased, but lived over and over again. Pages ripped from your past that come back to haunt you and resurface things that you had hope were buried so deep that they would never resurface. 

It’s hard to be a writer. It’s hard to write about the truth. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©.  All Rights Reserved 

The Gift Of Caring

 It was the kind of evening when the wind found every opening in my heavy winter wrappings. There was no escaping the chill that went through my bones as I sat on the deck of the Queen Elizabeth as it sailed down the Hudson River toward the Atlantic and the beginning of our 109 day world cruise.

With my beret pulled down over my ears and scarf wrapped around my neck as high as possible, I leaned against the railing facing the winds watching he magnificent New York City skyline, swimming by so slowly.

Weeks before my friends Lou and Cathy who live in the Village vowed they would add to our send-off by signaling to us from the end of the Christopher Street Pier as we sailed by. 

It seemed a great idea at the time, until our sailing was delayed into the darkness and severe winter weather was moving in. So much for a sendoff, I disappointedly thought. Lou would be working and Cathy would be alone.

As we moved along, suddenly I saw a flicker…a blinking beam of bright light coming from the Christopher Pier. Once, twice, three times. She had come. She had come in the darkness and waited in the cold to wish us a bon voyage as she had promised. Cathy’s life was all about the gift of caring. I will always miss you my dear friend.

Copyright Sandra Hart©2007. From Read Between My Lines: What Was I Thinking.           All Rights Reserved 

Nocturnal Wool Gathering

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Dear Children,

I had a dream about you last night. I could hear your little voices, symphonies of laughter over sounds of powerful splashing waves hitting the sand. The sounds. The smell of salt air. My nocturnal wool gathering was so real. Everything in my senses was taking me back to a time and place of youth and happiness.

I could see the glistening Atlantic that had come to create safe little pools for you to splash and laugh and build sand castles in, lasting only until the next wave filled the sandy pocket with new beginnings. Come and go, swish, swish. Come and go to the sea again. I was living it so clearly…..

Until the light of morning came and washed away the happiness of when little wet hands caressed my face, peanut butter smiles and little toes filled with sticky sand filled my days at the beach. Life beyond my slumber cracked open the door to let those sunshine moments of our past, those butterfly moments; let them fly away into the sunrise.

I know they say good mothering is letting go – teaching our birds to spread their wings and fly away from the nest, strong and independent enough to build nests of their own. But I miss life with you, I do.

I miss the clutter of clothes in all the wrong places, rock music at decibels that shook windows, Tonka cars turned into hammers and music makers creating new scars and dents on anything and everything that meant something to me, stepping over teen bodies with new faces and sleeping forms. Strangers in our house on Saturday mornings. I miss it all. I just want you to know that.

My journey began before you came.

I didn’t know part of the way you were to walk with me.

I traveled unknowingly seeking roads along the way looking for that perfect life an Eden where we could stay.

Sometimes the way was unclear.

We often journeyed in darkness misguided by my ignorance complicated by my innocence.

I have taken you places you may have never been had destiny not chosen you to travel along with me.

Your journey will take its own course, and as was meant to be

I will continue along my paths guided by my choices yet unknown to me.

Take my hand and bid farewell our paths to cross now and then.

Each journey’s day I feel blessed it was meant to be, part of the way you were to walk with me.

Love,

Mother



Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

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MY TEN YEAR JOURNEY FOR CLOSURE

I will not mourn although my heart is torn, Oh love forever lost! I will not mourn. Heinrich Heine

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Places Within My Heart: My Journey Along The River Of Life

LUXOR, EGYPT 1984

In spite of the large fans circulating far above our heads on the ceiling, the lobby in our hotel at Luxor was only a few degrees cooler than the desert heat outside. As I looked around I would not have been surprised to see Humphrey Bogart sitting at the bar, with the polished mahogany piano and yellow ivories in the corner of the room twanging out soulful tunes. It was something right out of a movie set.

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I was brought back to reality by the the sound of a melodic English accent calling “Ma’am, please Ma’am.” I turned to see a tall Nubian porter dressed in a galabiyya. His long sinewy body moved gracefully toward us and his face was long, thin and etched with life.

“Bags, Ma’am. How many?”

Before I could reply, his strong arms scooped up our baggage.

“Follow me, nice room, end of hall, just right for you, Ma’am.”

His head turned back our way and he flashed a leathery grin as he darted away with us double-stepping to keep up with his long-legged strides. He led us down the long dark hallway and stopped just right off the corridor to a massive door marked with the brass number ‘8’.

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The unlocked door swung open to reveal a large open space with floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side. Tall green louvers opened on either side letting in the hot morning sun. A double bed and chair on the right, and to the left a doorway that led to a smaller room that was to serve as my son’s space while we were here.

The high ceiling had the familiar fans like those in the lobby and were slowly moving the stale air about the room. I tilted my face upwards to catch the slight swirling of air when my eyes caught something dark on the ceiling. I slid my sunglasses down to the edge of my nose to get a clearer view, “What are…..”

My son craned his neck upward.

“They’re moving up there alright! Wow! What are they?” Emerson said.

“Not to worry Ma’am.They are harmless-they will not bother you,” said the Nubian.

“Just little lizards up there,” he said as he motioned upward toward the ceiling. “They’re not looking to eat you,” he added with a slight chuckle. “Less bugs to eat on you, they have big appetite.”

I wasn’t too sure I believed him but his cool manner was somewhat convincing.

Emerson went to check out his quarters and I walked to the tall window near the bed. The view was rather surreal. Lush grass grew on the ground below and in the center I could see a small pool half filled with dirty water, algae clinging to the edges where the water met the cracked sides of the cement pond. Neglect and the desert heat had obviously taken it’s toll on this tiny oasis in the unkept gardens.

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I imagined that in it’s prime the gardens must have been meticulously manicured with every detail taken care of by a host of gardeners, I envisioned lovely ladies with umbrellas and big hats, fluttering fans and flowing white linens floating around the grounds on the arms of their distinguished English gentleman.

I can’t remember how long I had been standing there, but suddenly, a veil of sadness began to envelop me. My body shivered and an invisible hand lightly whisked across my shoulder. An overwhelming feeling of loneliness reached down into the deepest pocket of my soul. The years of un-cried tears welled, spilling past my lashes, streaming down my cheeks. A river coursing uncontrollably from my eyes.

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Who would’ve thought my life would be this. As a child I had such innocent and positive dreams for what I thought was my true destiny. Who would’ve guessed it wouldn’t be like in the movies I yearned to be in long ago. And in that room in Luxor, Egypt, a place far away from my home, far away from my roots, my life and memories I had repressed for too many painful years came flooding to the surface.

I had my plan and God had His. My plan for my life had been cast aside. It didn’t matter. For the first time in years, I knew I would be okay. I could heal. Finally, I understood and accepted. Finally, I could forgive God. And I could cry.

Author’s Note: The preceding is an excerpt from my memoir/journal I kept during a trip I made to Cairo, Egypt and then down the Nile. This journey had the unexpected result in my healing from the trauma of my husband’s illness and murder years prior.

Available: Print, Kindle, Nook Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2002-2014

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REAR VIEW MIRROR

Organizing things the past few months at the house, finding memorabilia, going through old photographs that bring up past images and a past life, it seems I’m looking in the rearview mirror more and more these days.

For those of us who are living our lives well over 50, the reality, painful to even think about, is that the bulk of our life is probably behind us. Gone is our youth, the flawless, glowing skin, tight body mass, and unbridled energy juggling our family and our young kids lives.

How easy to slip back into those warm fuzzy memories of what used to be and for a moment escape what really is…at this time-NOW….forgetting how exciting or important this leg of our journey can be.

My flight attendant daughter is now 50 and she complains that with her creative aspirations, she is not where she hoped to be at 50, as though it is all over for her.

And once more, I have to go over the chronology of my life and career. Moving forward was all that I pursued with never even a thought of age as a handicap. Maybe that is why it never mattered. She is no exception. No different than I. It still is possible for new and exciting chapters to be written for and by her. That goes for you, too.

As I recently posted on Facebook, in my 20’s and 30’s I worked in television while raising a family, my 40’s I entered the corporate world to support my family, in my 50’s I started all over as an actress in film, television and theater and in my 60’s became a published author, a mental health advocate and blogger.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no Pollyanna. Life has not all be roses for me. Like most of you, I have had my struggles, disappointments and heartaches. But something inside of me gave me the strength to always get up and have faith that another door would open, another chapter would be written. Without fail, it always happened that when I was the most down, I was lifted the highest into a better place in my life. Always.

As long as there is a new day I plan to make the most of every hour gifted to me. We build our own fences. We control our limitations. Set yourself free and see just how high you can fly!

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Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

LAST DAY OF SUMMER

(In the last few days during a late spring cleaning and efforts to eliminate “stuff” I have collected in my adulthood, I came across some of my stories I wrote as a young teenager that my mother lovingly kept because she always believed in me and what I could be. I hadn’t read them since I wrote them when I was 13.)

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Last Day of Summer

Arising at dawn I ran outside, the cool mist of early morning causing me a slight chill, I briskly paced myself on the ruff dewy clumps of grass that had found life here and there in the sand leading to the water’s edge. It was my last day on the island and I didn’t want to miss watching the golden halo arise from the sea. I could see the seagulls, a chorus of sharp squeals, snowy bodies and vibrant flapping of wings swooping and diving over my head.

The quickening pace of the deep blue waves splashing, splashing against the dark wet sand seemed to invite me to join them in their early morning frolic.

I quickened my pace toward the beckoning waves feeling the moist sand coming between my bare toes giving me a feeling of being one with it. Giving in to it.

The strong waves broke against my body as I hurled myself into the sea. I swam to almost where the waves beyond were wearing their white caps. Ha! Just to entertain me on this, my final swim I thought. Just for me.

In the late afternoon with only an apple in my pocket I traveled barefoot one more time along the seaweed clad shore watching a sailboat now and then skim along on the horizon.

Placing myself, after retracing my footprints back up the beach, on an weathered old great piece of driftwood, I sat to dine on the contents of my pocket while quietly watching the waves come and go, come and go, kissing the shore and then disappearing over and over again.

Eventually the waves took on a scarlet hue as the flame in the sky flickered, flickered and as slowly as it arose from the sea at dawn, it slowly ebbed. I watched. I watched and remembered my wonderful summer by the sea until God blew out the candle that lights the day and all was dark and still.

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SWISH….SWISH

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My uncontrollable memory tail has lashed me about recently, taking me to places I would rather not go.

First, the mixed circumstances of joy in reconnecting with a cousin and of sorrow whipping me backward in dealing with the memory of her mother, my famous cousin Carolyn and her illness-which in turn, re stimulated memories of my late husband, Jennings, and his struggles with schizophrenia.

Then this morning on CBS’s Sunday Morning, out of the blue, I was again swished back to a painful time in my young life. Michael Rockefeller.

New York……..1959

I met Michael through my classmate and eventual apartment roommate, Patricia White. She, Michael, Mimi Kellogg and a few others and I would get together the next few years on occasions at parties, either at our apartment or other social events. We were young and all full of life and youthful expectations. All except me, were raised in a social bubble of great material comfort and equally great expectations. I was the anomaly in the group with my Midwestern middle class upbringing. Yet we were all alike in that few of us had experienced great personal losses beyond our grandparents or older relatives. We were invincible with miles of living ahead of us. That is, until Michael.

Michael Rockefeller, just a year or two older than I, disappeared and was presumed to have died November 17, 1961. He was the youngest son of New York Governor (later Vice President) Nelson Rockefeller and a fourth generation member of the Rockefeller family. Our friend disappeared during an expedition in the Asmat region of southwestern Netherlands New Guinea.

At the time we were told that he was believed to have drowned and they never were able to find his body. That was all we knew then. We were shocked and it took so long to accept we would never see him again. It was hard to accept that our intelligent, enthusiastic and sometimes funny friend was gone.

In 2014, Carl Hoffman published a book that went into detail about the inquest into his killing, in which villagers and tribal elders admit to Rockefeller being killed after he swam to shore in 1961.

So once again that memory tail has swooshed, given me a whack and knocked the air from me. As my son’s ‘To Be Young’ lyrics from his album Beauty In Disrepair explains….”As I look back…years of memories so neatly stacked..I forgot about you.”

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.
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