Sunday, February 23

When is enough enough?

     
    I was in Savannah, Georgia, in my 20s with a couple of girlfriends, just passing through on our way from Florida to a wedding in North Carolina. We got lost and asked for directions. I was driving and I said, “I don’t care where I have to go, please don’t make me cross that bridge.” The gas station attendant (this was 1974—there was such a thing) told me I wouldn’t have to go anywhere near the bridge, much less cross it.
          He lied.
          I can still recall how scared I was driving over that bridge. And that’s all I remember about Savannah.
          This past weekend, I spent the weekend there. Again with a couple of girlfriends. That bridge is even higher than it was in 1974. Ships kept running into it, so they rebuilt it in the 1990s, making it something like 50 feet further above the river it spans. Gulp. We didn't cross it, which was fine with me.
          But this weekend we got to be real tourists. We rode trollies through the historical district,
walked up and down River Street, and sat in several of the 22 remaining squares—each of them a small park unto itself—surrounded by beautiful buildings.
          I watched people—I’m a writer; that’s what we do—and thought how I’d have loved being a tourist there twenty years ago when I was younger, thinner, healthier. Of course, I couldn’t have afforded it then, and sitting in a park drinking in the beauty of 18th century houses probably wouldn’t have satisfied me all that much. I’d have wished for something different. Something more.
          It reminded me of how I feel about my writing career sometimes. When I get a new contract, or a 5-star review, or a nice royalties check, I think how nice that would have been 20 years ago. When I was not only younger, thinner, and healthier, I wrote faster, too. I could have written three or four books a year. I could have—
          Well, I don’t know what I could have, to tell the truth, and it doesn’t matter. Because if all those good writing things had happened then, I think I’d probably have wished for something different. Something more.

          Maybe that’s why things happen the way they do. Maybe it is so I can enjoy sitting in the park in Savannah, Georgia, and so I can love writing one book a year and know that—in both situations—I wouldn’t wish for something different or something more. It is the true definition of the word enough.


12 comments:

  1. I agree with every word. Oh, what I could have done back when I was younger, slimmer, etc. etc.

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  2. Liz! Beautifully said. Here's to sitting in the park, or on the beach, or in a tree and knowing you can focus on the words instead of the deadline! I'm thinner than I was twenty years ago, but the brain is pudgy!

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    1. LOL. I want the thinner part, but the pudgy brain will have to stay, too, I guess.

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  3. Exactly! I lived in Jackson, MS when I was young! I never saw half of it--what a mistake!

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to live today, not in the past or the future.

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  5. Right, D'Ann. Every time I drive past the children's museum in Indianapolis, I realize I've never been there. My kids and all seven of the grands have, thank goodness, but I missed it.

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  6. Oh my that bridge! And they built one where I live and liked it to... Well, we call it the bridge to nowhere. There's a lot of land speculation at the other end. Savannah is such a beautiful town. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

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    1. It is gorgeous and I do hope to go back someday. I liked looking at the bridge, but was just as glad not to cross it!

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  7. I wished I'd had the confidence to try writing "for real" back then. But I didn't consider myself talented or smart enough to write anything other than my secret stash of storied. Oh if I'd only known...Good post!

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    1. Thanks, Debra. I still have that uncertainty sometimes--I don't think it ever goes away.

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