Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shift and Return

My daughter left. My daughter left me. My daughter left us. And within the leaving was a whole year of complicated efforts to delay the inevitable, and the terrible grasp of the inevitable, and the preparation for the leaving, and then the leaving itself.

My last post was made the month my family began talking about the inevitable. Efforts to write creatively since then have resulted in the closing of my personal computer before I could even start, and then leaving it closed all together. There are some things that shouldn't be said at the time of great events. In fact, there are times that events are so great that nothing can be said, or written, about anything.

And so I have been quiet here as I grieved the effects of my daughter's choosing to attend high school three states away with her father. She is the elephant in my unwritten blogs. Her voice, absent from my home, lives as a ghost skirting the shadows in my thoughts across the day. I have grown fatigued of how this dusk plagues me.

So it is time to begin again and break into the light with both word and action. It's time for a shift of sorts.

Last evening, my husband and I discussed the concept of the shift key and the carriage return lever on typewriters-- back for those of us who once clacked away on those. Using a shift key, one would cause to raise an arc of type hammers so that the secondary characters could be punched onto paper-- the cleverly squiggled ampersand, or an exclamation point perhaps. Return physically moved the writer to the next line by rolling the page-- something done after a decision of whether or not to break a word with a hyphen so the remaining syllables would stack neatly against a new margin below. Now of course, a computer does all of that automatically, and somewhat akin to that, I have fallen into the lazy habit of living with grief for events that would have rolled out anyway.

Having recently come across another writer's nostalgic mention of typewriters, with a similar discussion (and when I find the article again I will link it here), I began to think how shift and return applied to what I must do-- make an active choice to reach for essential elements and continue to a new line. My husband pointed out that shift and enter, hit simultaneously in Word-- on a modern keyboard-- brings one to a new page entirely.

This comes just in time for my teenage daughter to return home for a warm visit, to remind me that words are waiting to be written, that my motherhood hasn't ended as much as endured a rather astounding shift in it.

Shift and return together is the best choice here, isn't it? A new page in a book still unfolding.

Welcome back, Catiche.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post and I love the analogy. I will think on it in my own life with my strong connection to the type writer growing up. I miss that feel and sound for sure!


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