Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Lives Collide

I think many of us have several lives. At least among the people I know. Kind of like a cat, you know?

collage by Dot

I have my life with my parents and my siblings when I was growing up. Within that there can also probably be divisions - but I'd call that a specific era. I know that some people would extend that era beyond turning 18; but I don't. The reason I don't will be revealed when my first memoir is published. No, I don't have a date; no, I don't have a publisher; yes, I have an editor (or two, I hope) and people to help me with revisions along the way - the first draft is done and parts are done or very close to editor-ready; and I have a few gaps to fill in and straighten out. If all goes according to plan, it will be in the hands of editor(s) soon and on its way to finding a publisher.

From the time with my parents to my early adult life. Another significant event and I entered another adult life. Years later a major profession change. And so on.

As I've been working on my memoir, different memories and stories have surfaced. People's names I rarely think about. People who were significant and I remember but no longer have contact with. And some major gaps of what or who or when. It's all a part of the same thing.

Recently I've been working on a couple of significant questions that have needed to have answers in the memoir. Some events that need more supporting information or reasons for what happened and so on. Something to make the story clearer or to help the readers understand a few things.

Those memories are hard to find and harder to write about. How do you find the sweet side of a sociopath? How do you show - without playing the victim card - how you fell into a relationship with that same person and how you repeatedly repainted the red flags yellow or blue or green; anything but red?

Then, surprise, as you finally are writing that story about the first meeting and the person who hooked you up. Voila! That person appears in your email inbox.

That happened to me. That person and I had been best friends from second grade through high school. We had a little bit of contact a couple years after graduation. Then our lives completely diverged. She did find me through or a similar website (well, she found my brother who gave her my information); we had a one email each exchange - then nothing. That was four years ago - there, I did it again, oops - it was actually seven years ago; time does fly. Last week I was editing an excerpt from my memoir for a contest - and a major part of it was the set-up and the meeting. Just as I was leaving town for a few days - in part to complete that story and get it ready to submit - I received an email from that long ago and I thought long lost friend. I replied. Another email from her today.

"bamboo" sumi-e painting by Dot

Our paths are crossing again.

I'm excited and a little nervous.

We have so much to say. So much to catch up on. And a part of me feels that old saying about, with true friends, it feels like you were never apart. There is a bit of that, too - it seems from this most recent email that there is an ease that I wouldn't have guessed. I mean, we are talking *many* years since we've seen each other. Yet our lives have overlapped in other ways. It's very complicated and I won't put it all online - but my friends and her friends and the connections are pretty amazing, even though she and I haven't been together. It does seem that something has kept our lives connected.

Right now we're trying to plan a time to meet, face to face. It's been so long. And I can't wait.

And how - yes, I think, serendipitous that she contacted me when I was writing that story. Maybe I need that. Maybe I wasn't ready for it, yet - until I was ready to tell that part of that story which belongs in that part of my life.

A collision of the oldest me and the newest me. And I believe a collision that will strengthen the wholeness and generate more creative sparks.

Yes. Life is stranger than fiction - and I know if I wrote this as a fiction piece, about our friendship and the lost years and the reconnection, many wouldn't believe it. Or, maybe the truth is that they wouldn't believe it if I wrote it as non-fiction - but they would accept it if I wrote it as fiction. I don't know. I do know that I'm excited and the timing still makes me smile.

 detail: silk painting by Dot.