Let It Ride
I have been writing for years now, from rough beginnings to cool milestones. A recent trip back to my hometown has given me an epiphany of sorts and a new perspective. It is one I do not quite grasp entirely, but it is coming into focus.
Time changes everything. The old neighborhood is gone; its ground has turned sour. My last visit was over eight years ago, but things were changing before then. The house I grew up in no longer held any nostalgia, as the neighborhood has descended into a barrio, one that feels unsafe and rundown.
My mother died in 2009, so I decided to visit Brookside Cemetery. I could not find the grave. It was surreal in that I remembered a beautiful pine tree as a marker and could not place it. I went to the office and got a map. On my return, I discovered the tree had been removed and my mom’s footstone had been shifted and partially covered in dirt. I texted the office, and they gave me the excuse that some trees had died the past summer, yet there were new graves that I could see near the pine’s excavation. A similar messed-up thing happened in 2009. Since we did not book graveside services through them, we had a priest speak. While he was giving the rite of the burial of the dead, the grave diggers started digging up the ground to bury the coffin right in front of everyone. All of this feels disrespectful to the dead, but now, like then, I have to let it ride.
I also visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins on Thanksgiving in a different part of town. It was cool seeing the house that my great-grandparents built in 1940 still thrive with family life. When I was a kid in the 1970s and 1980s, we always had family gatherings there. That all ended in 1988, when my Maw-Maw died on Christmas Eve. Now there is a new family with new memories. The day brought balance to the trip.
The whole trip was not a maudlin affair. It really made me introspective about the present. Life is short, and time flies by seemingly faster as I get older. I wrote about my teenage years at the right time (all three of those manuscripts are complete), as I am in a new space now. I feel right with the past and ready to move on.
This leads me to the point of the colloquialism in the title, which is letting something take its natural course. Like I stated before, I have been writing for years now, from rough beginnings to cool milestones. The industry is tough. Self-publishing feels like tossing writing into the void. I have a backlog of manuscripts in the submission grinder, and I am willing to do what I need to do when asked without throwing them away. In a year from now, I need to make a decision about the future of my website. All of this can be chaotic. The hard work has been put in, and now I feel a shift inside.
My solution is to step back for now and let it ride.