GloPoWriMo – Song 7

Songs That Might Have Been

If I hadn’t stopped at Redfur Trading Post
but had continued on the road up to Malabal Tor–

Or before that, if I hadn’t spoken to the Prophet
but had left Vulkhel Guard sooner, on that ship in the harbor–

Or before then, had I stayed in the stable loft that night
with my sister, instead of searching for bread.
We would have been hungry instead.

But she would not have been taken.

Or what if my parents had stayed in Elden Root,
never venturing south to Haven?

What if my mother had kept the Green Pact?
Who would I be then?

I would not be Ally’s companion and friend,
nor one devoted to Razum-Dar.

I would not be the Queen’s Eye,
Moon-hallowed, Champion,
the saver of lost souls.
Friend to the Silvenar.

But my sister would be by my side,
returned from the hunt.

And I would be a spinner telling tales
of what never was, rather than
what might have been.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem of the possible. What does that mean? Well, take a look at these poems by Raena Shirali and Rachel Mennies. Both poems are squarely focused not on what has happened, or what will happen, but on what might happen if the conditions are right. Today, write a poem that emphasizes the power of ‘if,’ of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

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NaPoWriMo 2019

Forgotten Art: Meadow – Dove 3

A reply to: A letter from Dove

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Dear Dove,

Reading your letters and writing to you has become such an indulgence for me! I have two other pen pals, and I love to read and write to them, too. The difference is that I justify writing to them because they giving me “new mom” and “adoptive mom” advice. Writing to them is part of my mom duties.

Writing to you is purely for me! I get such secret pleasure now for everything I do that’s just for me, even a bubble bath or a few stolen hours at the easel. Isn’t that wicked? I mean, every single minute, I’ve got a to-do list of at least twenty items. But I smile a devilish smile when I put my list aside and pull out my oil paints. Ah! Selfish indulgence! What joy!

Before Jena wakes up, I can steal a few more minutes for writing to you!

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When talking about alien life, you wrote, “I think the proof is in the fact that we even consider the possibility!” What do you mean by this? Do you mean that everything we consider possible… is possible?

If so, I will have to ponder that. I had this idea that we could imagine as possibilities every sort of impossibility.

I’m sorry your relationship is going through a tough time.

A secret: I’ve never really had a romantic relationship. I’ve had crushes before. In fact, I seem to always be forming crushes. And I seem to have a million friends. But I’ve never been in a close romantic or sexual relationship. I don’t think I miss it!

My newest friend is from the same refugee camp that Jena is from. We found out that Jena speaks Urdu, so I’ve been asking him to stop by to speak with her. I like him, but I don’t feel that kind of spark that I read about in Jane Austen novels.

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That’s so sad that you had to say unkind things to your person. Since you felt that you had to say them, I’m guessing that saying them was for higher good or for the better of you and the other person. In that light, maybe they aren’t even unkind things, do you think?

That’s so wonderful that you might be making friends with your neighbor!  It must feel so convenient and cozy to have a friendly neighbor!

I live about a mile from my closest neighbor, but this is the home I grew up in, and most of my neighbors have lived here most of my life, so we feel that we are friends, and almost even family, even if we don’t pass by each other’s house every day.

You hinted at some big things happening in your life. I won’t ask about them, since I want to respect your privacy. And at the same time, please know that anything you’d like to share, I’ll be happy to know. Think of my rose-colored glasses being worn over very sympathetic eyes! (OK, that was clumsily written, but what I mean, is I hope you think of me as a friend, too, and I’ll always be happy to lend support and encouragement whenever you need!)

So what’s new in my life?

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My uncle Jasper painted a beautiful micro-landscape for Jena. I hung it in her room with the paintings I’ve done. My work is nothing compared to Jasper’s. He’s been my primary painting instructor and inspiration.

Since we discovered that Jena speaks Urdu, she’s doing so much better! She seems happy most of the time now. I’m starting to feel hope that she’ll be able to have a good life.

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I spend a lot of time talking with her and playing with flash cards, which she loves–until she hates them! I’m learning about toddler-attention-span! It’s kinda like mine, actually: lasts forever for her current obsession and a micro-minute for things that bore her!

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She still gets mad or upset sometimes, but I guess it’s part of being a person on this planet to wake up on the wrong side of the bed now and then.

One of my pen pals told me it was “toddler hormones!” I’m pretty sure that’s just an urban myth, but next time we visit Jena’s pediatrician, I’ll ask about it.

For now, I’m just trying to provide plenty of space for her to feel however she feels in the moment.

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Like me, she changes her emotions quickly enough! So if she’s grumpy one minute, ten minutes later, she’ll catch me in a tackle-hug and be squealing for “fly-hi, Memo!”

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Ah, look! My morning’s gone and the little bug will be up soon!

Dove, thanks so much for writing, and I hope everything works out well for you, with your new neighbor friend, your relationship complications, and the other happenings in your life.

Happy sciencing!

Love,

Meadow

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Skill U: 8.7

Honey Walker | Van Windenburg Estate

Week Eight, Day Seven – Senior Year

Editor’s Note: Honey’s journal entries are numbered according to week and day of the week. As she does not keep daily entries, gaps appear in the numbering. Please see the Table of Contents for the full listing of entries.

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It’s graduation day. Mom and Dad have arrived to hear me deliver the valedictorian address. Before the ceremony, they took me out to lunch at the restaurant on the island.

“I always wanted to ride a ferry,” Mom said. But the way she was looking at me, I knew that the words she spoke didn’t come close to expressing the thoughts she was thinking or the emotions she was feeling.

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I felt all sorts of things, too. This day was such a culmination! I felt very nervous–that, most of all. In a few short hours, I’d have to deliver the speech!

I felt sad, too. I’d be leaving soon, saying goodbye to the Villareals, this island, and to Windenburg. I’d received an offer to play for the San Myshuno Symphony Orchestra, and I didn’t feel I could pass it up. Positions for violinists with a major symphony are so rare.

I felt excited, too, about the new life that was waiting for me. A violinist with an orchestra! And living in the city! I was just finishing college, but I still had so much to learn, so many experiences waiting for me.

It had been a few years since I’d seen Mom and Dad, so on top of all the other feelings, I felt that crazy mix of comfort and unease that I always feel with my parents, increased ten-fold after such a long time away from them.

I can always read my parents, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen them–so in addition to my own feelings, I felt theirs, too.

Dad looked so proud. My graduation had been his dream, too.

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“So,” I teased him over lunch, “daughter graduating from college. One more thing you can cross off your bucket list!”

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“That’s your Dad,” Mom joked back, “the family dreamer!”

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“I take my work as the family dreamer seriously,” Dad said. “It’s a big responsibility.”

He talked about all the dreams he’d had: a house for Mom, a garden for himself, a dog for me, and always time for us to spend together. Then, he said something that made me blush.

“You can dream. Well, I can. I can dream. But you know what? I can only dream so far. I can only dream what I can imagine. And so what happens when a guy like me has a daughter that’s more wonderful, talented, beautiful, and amazing than I can dream? That’s when I give over the dreaming duties to the whole universe. That’s why, Honey, you’re not my dream. You’re the universe’s.”

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When Mom left to powder her nose, Dad asked to hear some of my speech.

“What for?” I asked him. “You’ll be there to listen.”

“I won’t be able to hear right. All the people and noise. Plus, I can’t concentrate when I’m bawling my eyes out.”

I shared the opening with him:

“College begins with a dream. Maybe it’s your dream. Maybe it’s the dream of those who love you. Maybe it’s society’s dream. But along the way, the dream begins to morph. It becomes reality. And that’s when you’re put to the test.”

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He was quiet.

I couldn’t tell if he was thinking, if he was bothered, or if he was just feeling a lot.

“What do you think, Dad? Is it OK?”

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He told me a story about when he’d been in the Marines. It was a story I’d heard many times before, and it usually ended up with him getting back to base safely, after completing some kind of crazy mission, and writing a letter to me and Mom.

“Do you know what?” he told me. “I never told you the real ending of that story. I did write you and Mom, whenever I made it back safe, but never first. I wrote you later. After I wrote that other girl.”

I knew which other girl he meant.

“Why are you telling me this, Dad?”

“I never sent the letter, of course. I just wrote it and stuck it in a box. It’s just that she was a dream I never gave up on. Reality, that I’ve got. And it’s cool. It’s got your Mom in it. And sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it’s a piece of cake. But for me, whenever I had trials, I always went inside to where that first dream of mine was. That smart, beautiful girl. It’s like I tucked her away inside of me. Listening to you talk, the smart things you say, I feel like what I tucked away has somehow become real right here for me.”

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“Dad, that’s really weird.”

He laughed. “I know it! You don’t need to tell me! But I kinda believe in miracles. Like the stuff of our feelings–somehow that can come out and make something real.”

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Mom joined us.

“So do you think I should take out the part about the dream morphing, becoming real, and putting us to the test?” I asked Dad.

“Hell, no! That’s the good part!”

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The speech went well.

I got a big applause at the ending, after I said this:

“During the first year, you feel that college is a pole with you at one end, and success at the other. But by the time you stand here at the end of the pole, you see that it’s become a plane, and it’s possible that the whole journey is no longer about success. Maybe, the whole journey is simply about this: discovering that you stand here in an open meadow, able to see all the way around you. And now is when you can venture out, in any direction, even without a path, into the surrounding field of possibility.”

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