I write because my mother did not.
She read and read and read some more. Ten novels a week was not unusual.
My mother spent hours a day in that kitchen chair drinking coffee.
Sometimes, if I was not in school, I would sit with her.
Sometimes we talked.
Sometimes we were silent. My family was comfortable with silence.
Mostly introverts, we were more comfortable in silence than conversation.
Yet I would sit there in our kitchen wondering what she was thinking.
So I write, trying to will a gift, at least a token, to my daughter.
She will know what her mother was thinking.
There are family members that wonder why I do not stay at a job.
They think I am not contributing.
Why does someone so smart just stay at home? And my mother-in-law would shake her head.
I never colored in the lines.
I never made more than $27,000 a year.
And I breast-fed for 14 months.
I am viewed as not forming opinions. That I am apathetic at best.
They sometimes think my silence is arrogance.
They sometimes think my words do not hold weight.
Honestly, I could not have chosen two worse past-times for people to understand.
Writing and running. Or running and writing, depending on my mood.
If you speak about writing, the conversation quickly trickles down to “that’s nice when you have absolutely nothing else to do” (including things like setting fire to your hair or murdering puppies).
If you speak about running, especially long distances, there is no conversation at all. They look at you suspiciously out of the corner of their eye and simply walk away. If you are lucky, you get their jaw to drop and a grunt comes out. At least you know they heard you.
Well, hear me now.
I know what my silence means.
I know why I write.
And I know where I am running.