Telling Stories

After nourishment, shelter and companionship,
stories are the thing we need most in the world.
Philip Pullman

You’re going to feel like hell if you wake up someday and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions, and songs–your truth, your version of things–in your own voice. That’s really all you have to offer us, and that’s also why you were born.
~Anne Lamott in a recent TED Talk

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case.
~Annie Dillard from “Write Till You Drop”

I began to write after September 11, 2001 because that day it became obvious to me I was dying, albeit more slowly than the thousands who vanished that day in fire and ash, their voices obliterated with their bodies.   So, nearly each day since, while I still have voice and a new dawn to greet, I speak through my fingers and my camera lens to others dying around me.

Over the past several months, there have been too many who have met their end sooner than they wished, having been felled by a rogue virus that cares not who or how badly it infects.

We are, after all, terminal patients, some more imminent than others, some of us more prepared to move on, as if our readiness had anything to do with the timing.

Each day I too get a little closer, so I write and share photos of my world in order to hang on awhile longer, yet with loosening grasp.  Each day I must detach just a little bit, leaving a small trace of my voice and myself behind.  Eventually, through unmerited grace, so much of me will be left on the page there won’t be anything or anyone left to do the typing.

There is no moment or picture or word to waste.

8 thoughts on “Telling Stories

  1. Hi Emily,

    I wanted to post a comment but was unable to do so because I don’t have a WordPress account.

    Feel free to post. Thank you.

    Emily – Your words and pictures breathe fresh air into my soul. Thank you for your pen, your eyes, your heart.

    Lynn Kim


    Liked by 2 people

  2. On April 24th 2020 a 63 year old man whom I have loved for nearly 40 years had a massive stroke. On May 8th he died. We spent a quarter of a century of those years married, more best friends than anything. 63 is too young. He didn’t die of Covid. He died in the normal ways on an ordinary day. My children cried. We’re still crying. My son makes a box for his ashes. The tree he will be buried under was the quiet spot I used to flee to to pray when life as a young mother felt overwhelming. In high summer the leaves vaulted the sky and in fall they floated their twisting path downward speaking to me of death Decades before it would become reality. Every day these blogs seem to speak for me and to me Emily. My first thought each morning is that it was only a dream. Every morning I have to re-orient myself to a world without him in it. Beauty. Hope. Openness to grief. A tree on a hillside that used to harbor my prayers will harbor a man. I don’t know what to do in my days. Thank you for being here when things turn to ashes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kellie, that is heartbreaking in every way and we all can never be prepared for that day when death becomes real. I am sad for your loss of a beloved man much too young. You will be writing out your grief, I’m sure, and I will pray for you and your children’s broken hearts. Love, Emily

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely! I’ve often wondered what your impetus was for writing/photography and how you have managed in in your busy schedule of wife/mother/physician/farmer! I am moved by what you share with us.

    Also, deepest condolences to Kellie as she lives her life on without her love. I too know the pain of losing a beloved suddenly and unexpectedly, tho we only had 2 yrs. together. She sounds like a strong woman, who though sorrowing mightily, will find her way. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emily,
    It is such a blessing for so many of us readers (known and unknown) around the world (yes,THE WORLD) that you continue to share your time and gifts, heart and soul , with us on a daily basis.
    The time and talent for research and files alone make my head ache. This formidable loving ‘task,’ added to all your other activities that are part of your life — ,Wife, Mother, Grandma, Haflingers and other friends in your animal
    world and, not least, how many years of ‘doctoring.?

    When St. Peter greets you at the ‘gate,’ I suspect that he might say, “Greetings, my friend, Emily. I know all about
    you and welcome you to your new forever home. By the way, would you be willing to write a Blog for the folks
    here? You can get back to me later after you get settled in your new surroundings….”

    Liked by 1 person

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