Many friends and relatives have been very kind in supporting of my writing endeavors. But unknown to all, it is really the woman at the cash register of my health food store who keeps me writing. When in a slump, or distracted from my writing by life’s madness, sooner or later I know I will have to face her, as I send my groceries down the conveyor belt to be rung up and bagged.
“I haven’t heard anything from you for a while,” Sherrie admonished once.
Oh the shame. Keeping to schedules has never been a strength of mine.
The next time we met over the heads of kale and vitamin bottles, I mumbled something about it being pretty hard to find anything anything positive to write about Owen lately, he’s been difficult.
“Oh but you always do,” Sherrie smiled, warm, unapologetic. Sherrie is a big fan of Owen’s adventures.
I left fortified with better things than vitamin pills.
Surely every artist must have a Sherrie. That first person whom they know in no other way but through their art, the stranger who says those bolstering words, “I just love the way you write!”
Caring for Owen is a profound experience. As the last of his siblings returned to college this week, and Edward left for the west coast for the week on business, leaving Owen and me eyeball to eyeball, I am more conscious of the sweetness that Owen brings to my life than usual. And by that I do not mean the juice he splattered all over the floors yesterday cramming oranges into his mouth as fast as he could before I got downstairs to catch him. No, I mean something a tad more lofty. It has to do with seeing, with focus. Have you noticed that spiritual teachers seem to show up, disguised as the difficult people and the painful experiences of life? Then there seem to be other people, wonderful mentors who show up to help one digest it all, and prod us to do something useful with all we have learned. Owen has had his turn at both, though he seems to prefer the first role.
But today I want to acknowledge the woman behind the cash register. Without that prodding, the writing I do might never reach the light of day. Thank you, Sherrie, for holding my feet to the fire. And yes, I will get back to work.