Daily Prompt: Bespoke

The word ‘bespoke’ recalls an earlier time. It reminds me of Shakespeare and clothing items such as doublets and slops. When one went to the haberdashery to bespeak himself a hat. Or when the satin trimmings on her dress bespoke wealth.

I prefer the definition- ‘suggest, or be evidence of.’

My glasses bespeak my poor vision.

My wedding band bespeaks my promise to my husband.

The small greasy hand prints on my upper thighs bespeak the presence of a tiny human, demanding my attention.

It’s a solemn word. I expect to see it in legalese rather than daily life. I could use it in a solemn statement such as, ‘my whiteness bespoke me a fool.’

Ten years ago, I had no proper understanding of institutional racism.  My white privilege wasn’t something I could point to or even name. To me, it was simply the way of the world. Every time one of my black coworkers came to get me to speak for them, whether it was to another white person, who would accept no from someone of their own race… or even worse. They brought me to pose as the white supervisor to another black person. Surely, they would listen to the voice of white authority. I accepted this at the time, not as evidence of my whiteness, that protective power that allowed me to move through the world with more authority and more safety than my black, brown, and tan peers, but as evidence of my intelligence. I took it as evidence of my wonderful talent in the area of management and interpersonal skills. People came for me in moments of crisis because I was such a wonderful asset to have in these moments.

What a fool I was!

If I could go back in time to those moments, I would walk in with an awareness of the armor I wear. With an awareness of the power I wield.

I’d walk in with my accident of birth.



Daily Prompt: New Horizon

How appropriate that this is my writing prompt today! I am facing the start of a new personal venture in my life. I am going to write.

I know, I know. I’ve tried this before. I’ve bought new journals and never even come close to filling them. I wake up in the middle of the night to go to bathroom and a great idea for a writing prompt comes to me and rather than stay up and write it down, I go back to bed. It would be very easy to conclude that I am not writer material. My personal habits so not jive with my earliest impression of a writer.

I really have no idea how old I was the first time I read Little Women, but I do know that I have reread this book so many times in my life. Honestly, I’m probably long overdue for another read. I do recall Jo March and how much I wanted to be her. She was tough, yet kind. She was defiant, and usually for a good reason. She stood out from the crowd and Laurie loved her for it. And it just so happened, she considered herself to be a writer. She would sit up late at night in the garret with a candle, writing the scenes and people who invaded her imagination after dark. She couldn’t even think about going to sleep when she could be writing.

Now that I think about it, I think Jo March’s work ethic colored my impressions of what a work ethic should be in general. I approached being an opera singer with the same sort of slavish devotion, allowing no other time for other interests or distractions. In fact, if my husband hadn’t have been such a wonderfully persistent human, I would have succeeded at sending him away and living my solitary musician life. Whew! Thank goodness I avoided that. Anyway…

So, if I was going to be a writer, obviously, I had to be a writer like Jo March. I had to sit up late at night, and I had to have this ravenous, cannot-be-denied desire to write. In any of my past attempts, I have never managed to be this person. I have never found a routine that continued to work for me. I have never even found a format I’ve really liked. So here I am. I am turning over a new leaf. I can see on the horizon, a person who writes. Who contributes her thoughts to the world. I’m not exactly sure how I will get there. I’ve chosen a WordPress blog at the moment, and I’ve started reading Bird by Bird, which has given me the realization that most writers find it difficult to write. I’m not alone in my struggle to fill the page. This was probably the best realization I could have made.

This isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it.

I’m not going to be good right away. No one was. It takes work and you have to put some terrible things to paper in the beginning.

Finally, you just have to do it. There’s no way around it. It’s not going to do itself.

The Horizon doesn’t come to you. You have to move toward it.