Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Musing on the Letter "e"

Some days the writing comes easily. Some days you need help.

The jumping off point for this exercise came from a section in Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krause Rosenthal.

The letter "e" as it applies to me.

Evergreen - I love loblolly pines. I think I like the way it sounds as much as the tree. We had cedar trees for Christmas trees when I was little because we could cut one in the woods close by the house. On my first trip to Minnesota, I was shocked to see real Christmas trees, spruce and fir, growing along the highway. I love the way the dark shades of green flash brilliant against winter browns. A winter hike in a deciduous forest. Bare branches. Padded ground. Waxy green magnolia taking root on the forest floor.

Eggs for breakfast. Scrambled, with grits, and bacon crumbled on top.

Engine - So many times I watched my daddy set up his "come-along" on the swing set frame, wrap chains around the guts of a vehicle and pull the engine out of a car, a truck, a bus. Take it apart, put it back together, and drop it back into that hollow cavity.

Extrovert - I am not one.

Eleagnus - Don't plant this shrub unless you plan to spend a lot of time detangling stems, on a ladder.

Elegant - There may be some elegance in my long fingers or the way I move my hands when I talk, but mostly any elegance I exude is of the Fancy Nancy type. I refuse to wear heels. I hate big, bulky jewelry. No matter how many times my daughter matches up my outfits, I never seem to get it just right. But I'm comfortable in my own skin. Maybe there's a sort of elegance in that.

Eggplant - Baba Ghanoush. Mmmm.

Education - There is something to be said for going back to school when you're fifty. Lectures make more sense. You weigh opinions more carefully, your own and those of others. Creativity is fortified with a bit of experience. And it's way more fun than it was in your twenties.

Equator - I wrote a book about explorers. One day I would like to cross that imaginary line. In a ship, not a plane.

Energy - I wish I had more.

Expecting - Five times. Four healthy children. One full term stillbirth. I have experience with empty arms. I once heard an author say she was "pregnant with book." I remember thinking I would like to be pregnant with book. And though I've written quite a few for the educational market, it has not been with that essence of longing to give birth to something miraculous. I'm still expecting it.

Extrovert - Did I mention that I am not one.

Try it. Pick a letter and free write any associations that come to mind. Grab a dictionary if you need help.


  1. Although you'd never say this about yourself, I can say it with gusto...

    Extraordinary: The extra effort you put into your research, the extra help/encouragement you give to fellow writers, and the the extra depth you put into your relationships with others. Yep, extraordinary fits me.

  2. Yes to the elegance that is related to being comfortable in one's skin! And I saw the word "experience" pop up in this post a number of times. That's the gift of age, isn't it? Wouldn't trade it for all the smooth skin in China.

    When I see lower-case "e" I think if Elizabeth Dulemba! And a beacon in my life: youngest son Eric. xo

    1. One of the interesting things about this exercise is the multiple other words that pop up with the experimental letter. Elizabeth is always a bright spot at any gathering. Though I haven't met Eric, those youngest babes bring such pleasure, don't they?