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  • Cathy Stenquist

The Flow

When you are a caregiver for two years and your mother passes away, it is nearly impossible to get in the mindset to write a children's picture book. My heart has been so heavy that I could not connect to my inner child.


I was a writer... who could not write.





I decided to put BITC and sit at the kitchen table, fingers on the keys and wait for something to happen. The wind chimes twinkled out the window, the birds flitted and sang. My husband popped his head in, kissed my cheek and asked how I was doing. The oven clock ticked away the minutes while my brain searched. Nothing. Not a word. Nada.



"Focus!" I told myself, "You can do this. You are a writer!"

I sat there a while longer totally blank. Then I remembered a little poem I had started on a torn piece of paper for Vivian Kirkfield's #50PreciousWords contest, about a boy who refused to eat his vegetables. It might be a start, I thought. I walked into my office and pulled out the "Poems in Progress"folder where I had tucked it away. Sure enough, the raw first beginnings of something that had gone nowhere.





Opening up a Word doc, I began typing in my scratch. There. Done. I stared at the words.


After a few anxious minutes, ever so silently, drip by tender drip, my brain began to open up the flow. What is the flow you ask? My writer friends reading this are smiling, as they know the very rare feeling well. It felt to me as if the words that had been bunched up against my exhausted grieving wall, now had a crack to flow through. Random thoughts stirred in my head, one leading to another. I found myself letting the hardness go. Words were added, reshuffled and changed again. Soon I was giggling as I read the stanzas out loud.


Over the next few hours, twoTWO first drafts poured out onto the pages.


When I finished a draft a few years ago before my mother's illness. I would call her excitedly and ask her if she had a few minutes to listen to my new story. With out hesitation, she would say, "Yes! Hold on a sec while I grab my coffee and pull up a chair." This small act of dropping everything, giving me her total focus and support was a gift that my beautiful daughter Erica Leigh gave me yesterday in her stead.


And so, this rainy Sunday, I will go to church and thank God for the gift of words he has given me and for day by day healing a little more of my heart. I am rediscovering Cathy again. And it feels good. May the flow keep flowing. :)


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