Truth Serum

Early morning, dark & quiet.  I listen to the breathing of the house:  the clock that ticks too loudly, highlighting the solitude like a bad movie scene; the myriad of “sleep” sounds needed by –and created by– the four sleeping people down the hall; my own body creaking in its skin, reminding me that I am closer to old than to young.

Opening up my computer to begin writing and making a decision about which path to take, I am more cautious.  Today I have an audience.  Who will notice my overuse of the ellipses?  Who will see the blank spaces between my words?  The people who know me (or think they know me)… how will they digest my musings?  Am I writing the beginnings of conversations that I have always avoided or am I ending the potential for them to ever begin?  Will the painfully slow selection of words and phrases find their form in the world?  And, ultimately, does this all beg the bigger question from my years studying Reader Response Theory:  who controls the meaning, the author or the reader?

This act of writing forces me to not only sit with my thoughts and follow their dancing, random interactions, but to give them my full attention.  The choice to settle on one each day, for 31 days, is a choice to dive deeper into myself and to do it publicly, allowing my words to move out into the world and, perhaps, find their meaning somewhere else.  Readers will, hopefully, read, but they will not take my first steps into Thurston Hall, they will not hear my father’s gravelly praise tinged with hidden criticism, they will not sit at my mother’s table and watch the hawk watching her.  Instead, they will recall their own initiation into true independence, wrestle with their own childhood demons, and consider their own passage of time. 

And, beneath it all, even as I race to completion for today, there are the truths that emerge from my own personal Pandora’s box.  Lying within the carefully placed commas and meticulously selected adjectives are the truths that will pull at me long after I think I am done.


8 thoughts on “Truth Serum

  1. Wow! There are so many powerful questions to ponder here! From title to ending line, this is a beautifully crafted and thought-provoking piece. It will linger in my mind as I move into this day and beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this and welcome your overuse of ellipses (one of my favorite punctuation marks). I had a Thurston Hall back in university. The images you conjured up of those watching you were so vivid. Pandora’s Box indeed- writing is a truth serum.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a treat to read. I recently read somewhere that when people look at the picture they never see the same thing and it is also true for reading, we all read different texts even when we look at the same page.

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  4. One of the “four sleeping people down the hall” is that 15-year-old. I look forward to reading wherever your musings take you. This year, teaching every day once again, I know many of my “paths” will be cringe-worthy to my writer’s ear, but as my husband said, “You’ll learn the value of beautiful brevity.” I can only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Amy, you captured the nerves of the first post of the month – an audience will read, a new routine (a change from the norm), will my message be read and understood, and most importantly, writing for 31 straight days is daunting on day one. Doing anything for 31 straight days is daunting on day one.

    I loved it. You inspire me with how you laid out your words and thoughts – it is beautiful. THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Several phrases stuck out to me…I listen to the breathing of the house, I am closer to old than to young, who controls the reading, the author or the reader.
    Your carefully chosen words have cause me to stop, notice and ponder. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always have such a hard time choosing just one favorite line. 🙂 My birthday is coming soon, and so ” I am closer to old than to young” stood out, but I also loved what you said about today being so hard because it’s for an audience. All that you wrote that follows is so true and so beautifully articulates what I think a lot of us are feeling today.


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