Sh*t I Say: “Be the New Hub”
Today is the second day of the April A to Z Challenge. During this month I will be writing blog posts every day (with breaks on all Sundays except this one) about the topic “Sh*t I Say” starting with each consecutive letter of the alphabet. This is one crazy project, y’all.
Be the New Hub
Most of the time when I am writing something very personal I enter a zone. I think this might be the right thing, the opening of the soul that writers strive to achieve. Natalie Goldberg wrote that writers with a natural gift allow themselves to open and let the waters of creativity pour forth through them. Maybe that is what it is. When I get into the zone I feel like it’s not even me writing. I’m not consciously choosing this word, then that word. I just write. The words come out of my brain, through my arms and fingers, and onto the keyboard. When they come quickly they come out like this: adlk akweijn thieos – and so there is a lot of backspacing. I can’t stand making mistakes. If I ever let go of that maybe the work will be better.
In November after Lisa died her parents asked me to give a eulogy at her funeral. I was sick with grief and the flu. I felt overwhelmed by the challenge. I could not stand before Lisa’s other friends and family and deliver a eulogy that was nothing less than a gift to her and to them. I put enormous pressure on myself. I hired babysitters to watch my children every evening until my mother arrived. I accepted the gift of a huge meal delivered to my house. I wore a scarf wrapped snugly around my throat and I drank mug after steaming mug of tea, begging my voice to return from its retreat from my sickness.
I sat at my desk and willed the inspiration to come. I looked at pictures of Lisa through my tears. I thought back through the 20-plus years I had known and loved her. I pulled up her Twitter stream and considered starting with a quote from The Big Bang Theory, that show she enjoyed so much.
Nothing was quite right.
I don’t remember the hook I finally found that opened the vault of my words, but eventually the release did happen, and I was left with 8 pages of memories, stories, and emotions to share with other mourners. My mother and my dear friend Alyssa helped me hone the message (“This draft makes her sound like an alcoholic, sweetheart. You might want to make some edits.”)
The point of this post is the message: Be the new hub.
Lisa was at the center of many circles of friends, responsible for helping everyone to keep tabs on each other. We didn’t have to speak to everyone all the time, just Lisa. She always knew the latest, because she was so good at keeping in touch. Off the top of my head I can think of this many: her college friends, her book club, her med school friends, her Team in Training crew, her child-free LA gang, her Twitter-turned-IRL friends, her colleagues at Children’s Hospital, her nation- and worldwide colleagues at the database project, her childhood friends, her high school friends, and the people with whom she traveled the world on medical missions.
Without Lisa, would all these people fall out of touch? Find a new hub, I told everyone at the funeral mass. Better yet, be the new hub. Don’t let Lisa’s web of amazing people be lost.
This post is dedicated to Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Suzanne, Tricia, and Julie – the original circle.