Tuesday, February 1, 2011


          In the movie, "The Princess Bride”, there is a scene where the hero of the story is lying on a table. His body is battered and bruised, his head is limp, eyes are shut. Despite all appearances, he is a still a man with much to do. He needs to foil the sinister plots of Prince Humperdinck, save the Princess and help his friend find the infamous six fingered man. It would be enough except for one more problem…he’s dead.  No, this is not where the story ends but to have a happy ending would take nothing short of a miracle. Enter stage left Miracle Max, resident miracle worker!  First, Max needs to know something. He leans over our hero's still body and shouts, “Hello? Hey you! Tell me, what’s so important? What have you got that’s worth living for?”
"True...love" our hero bellows on borrowed breaths. True love, is there not a more noble cause? What inspires you?
As a writer I know there are days where the act of writing is just difficult. When the words don’t come, questions take their place and I have to be careful what I choose as answers.
What's so important? What's it worth to you? Big, monumental answers like “true love” don’t work for me. They only seem to put me in another rut. What could I possibly write that would measure up to scales second only to the meaning of life? Truths such as these can be hard endeavors to affirm every day. They lose their luster lost in repetition. (Just imagine a bevy of pageant beauties all uttering their belief in “world peace”). When a truth is no longer spoken with thought or conviction, it falls prey to being a caricature.
I have found luck with a simpler answer. When the voice in my head asks, “What’s so important? Why write now?  I plainly say, “I write for a cup of tea." Why? Cue the flashback…
A little over a year ago I couldn’t pour myself a cup of tea without wincing.  I called it my lost year, the time in between 2009 and 2010 where my calendar was inundated with doctor appointments, physical therapy, acupuncture, specialists and less of the little moments I used to enjoy jotting down. The boy loses his first tooth- another funny thought from Super Dave - girl’s night, painted our toes! My calendar was an open diary and now it read like a medical form – aches here, pains there, headaches big and small and where oh where was a good night’s sleep?
I was convinced; the year was a loss with nothing worth remembering. I would have really liked to have just forgotten it all, if I could. I tried really hard but when I sat on my couch and bemoaned the state of my body I was surprised to find my mind still interested. For one, there was an image that kept appearing in my mind, an old man and his tea kettle. Had I been having one too many cups of tea? Perhaps, but it was still curious and I kept asking myself who he was? Overtime more bits and pieces fell from my mind and a picture came to be. He was having difficulty sleeping, his body was weak and he moved with a heavy sadness. All things I could relate to. His story was my companion throughout much of the year and along with the support of family and friends(old and new!) was one of the things that kept me going. Somehow I innately knew that one day I would feel better and when I did I was going to introduce myself to this man and get to know him more. In all my life I had never known so clearly what I needed to do…write.
Now I sit, a new year, a new me, I am still finding my way around the many sides of normal. Every once in a while I get excited to be in a moment free from pain. I am giddy every time I notice myself trotting up and down stairs, playing with my children, dancing in my kitchen, or simply writing once again. And yet for all that I have experienced in that, my lost year, I am still shocked how easily I forget. My mind drones on about endless to-do lists, he said-she said, school time woes, what’s for dinner, house projects and this, my so-called writing life.  It’s hard not to get caught up in life’s little worlds.
When my head starts to spin, my stomach jump or my speech grows curt, I stop the world with a cup of tea.  I take pride in all the little details - water, kettle, cup, sugar, milk, tea – and wait for that familiar whistle of steam. Then I lift the handle, pour and immediately smile.  The moment is golden. It does something to me and thankfully, I am never the same. After a cup of tea, I just know...everything else is cake. (Super Dave would rather some "pie".)


  1. Yay Nancy! Here's to filling your calendar with more special moments that make life worthwhile. I look very forward to following your blog as loyally as you have followed mine!

  2. Congrats, Nannie. I love it. It's great. and beautifully written. i raise a celebratory cup a tea to you and your calendar. HIP HIP...

  3. You go Nan! It's so beautifully you!

  4. Oh Nancy I truly truly LOVE IT!!! Thank you for sharing this with me! I cannot wait to read more & more! You are truly gifted!!