I am sitting at a large desk looking at a word doc with a great expanse of empty white space.

I am hoping something, somebody, some topic, some natural phenomenon will show up

I am not feeling confident.

Some deep, slow breaths may help me relax;

Go deep into the canals of past, present, and future.

I close my eyes and breathe in, breathe out; inspiration, expiration; inhale, exhale.

Let go of any tension that holds me back. What do I mean by holds me back? Holds me in a clutch.

What do I mean by clutch? I used to drive a sports car with five on the floor! It was awesome. Hugged the pavement like a dream. Clutch in, shift, put the pedal to the metal; repeat, repeat, repeat; go, go, go off to work, off to the theatre, off to West Virginia’s hot springs, singing “Country roads take me home, to the place I belong, West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads.”

A clutch could also be the desperate grasp of my mama’s hands holding me back, pulling my shoulders back, pushing her fingernails under my wings while her thumbs pressed my spine forward. Even her hugs were grips that squelched my breath and my fire!

I said, “Mama! That hurts! Stop! Please stop, Mama!”

She said, “You will never be pretty until you stand up straight!

Tears ran down my face, my nose, my chin. I held my fists tight and screamed as loud as I could. I turned my head away and looked up at the white thunderhead clouds growing bigger and taller in the pale blue sky! I looked down at the slate path to the backyard. There was a blue, down-feather on the third slate. I wanted to pick it up. My dog, Chips lay down near me. My white T-shirt with green and yellow horizontal stripes, my faded dungarees were wet my my tears.

Mama squeezed my cheeks together with her left hand. Her fingers smelled like cigarettes. The angry marks between her eyes got tighter and deeper. I tried to scream, again.

“Don’t you scream young lady, and don’t you cry, she said, it makes you look ugly!”

Mama walked away mumbling about what to make for dinner. She turned back and said, “It is your turn to set the table, young lady!”

I fell on Chips’ neck stroking his soft fur.
He nuzzled my neck, licked my tears, and snuggled close.
I would never be ugly to Chips, and Chips would always be beautiful to me.

What are you looking for?