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Closing Time

Written by Mary Coe


Home is safety, is it not? Or, I wonder, is it simply a place where we can just be ourselves?

Today, I write an offering… I’m feeling called to lay it all out there as I round a difficult, but a very exciting corner in my work. I’m soon to finish the second book of my series, which has me sitting in a seat of objectivity over my life. I’m halfway through a very intense journey of the self through my writing, and that is an accomplishment I feel extremely proud of. The same introspection fell upon me a few years ago when the first book I’d ever written was completed. The level of empowerment I felt in writing the words “THE END…” I’ll never forget the feeling. Like flying.

Pressed up to the window, my weary eye searches my inner dark room for what it is that I’m meant to be learning as I close out a very weighted chapter of my life. This second book has been a trudge through the mud, and as they say, life imitates art. Or, is it the other way around…? Whatever… BOTH. It’s all been hard. But good. And extremely eye-opening. And necessary. And oh, so very rough. LOLZ.

The disciplinarian within myself yells at me for taking time away from my word count to blog, but I felt certain that today was my day to write in this space. When inspiration hits for me to bring a message to this often-forgotten site, I feel an irritating itch beneath my skin that cannot be scratched until I get it out. My pulse quickens. Fear ensues, but then Courage takes the driver's seat with a cigarette in his hand and a gas station coffee in the drink holder.

I’m not sure who is meant to read this, but my prayer is that it reaches you, and deeply, whoever you are.

There are many themes that I present to the reader within my book series, but the largest of which is the concept of home. What does it mean to be at home? Is it a person? A place? A purpose? A search for truth? These are the questions that my main character asks of herself, and of the world. The moment she finds safety in any form, she is at risk of that thing being ripped from her. Then, her self-examination of 'home' is redefined once more by her circumstances and the characters around her.

This theme of home, of what it means to find rest and belonging, has plagued me for the majority of my life. I've found resting places in my marriage, my family, in friendships, and in the beautiful house I lay my head down in, day after day. I once thought that home was the first scent of my cats' fur after being away from them for longer than a few days. Years ago, I looked for it within my career as a performer and quickly realized how fragile an idea it was. I’ve often felt that writing fantasy is my home, but words don’t even offer me true solace, day after day. However, if writing were a residence, it would exist as a very shabby, but magical cabin somewhere deep in the woods that is hard to find, particularly on cloudy days. She’s elusive but worth the journey.

Today, I opened my MacBook to write one of the more potently-packed scenes in the final chapters of book two and felt stuck. Which is why I’m here. The idea of taking away something so precious to my main character is… horrific. It makes me nauseous to think about penning it, probably because I’ve found myself right at home with her in a dream world that I could only wish was a real place. I’ve found a certain sense of safety within her world, but safety for the main character is always fleeting.

Home is safety, is it not? Or, I wonder, is it simply a place where we can just be ourselves?

For one reason or another, I’m picturing a sort of dusty vagabond at my core that has wandered to and fro to find a place of belonging. There’s always been a certain restlessness deep within my bones. My anxiety is what brought me to writing in the first place. Journaling became my solace when I felt disconnected as a performer, but little did I realize that it would give way to a primal voice inside of myself that I didn’t know I had.

It’s in that voice, that knowingness of our own inner alignment, in that God-within-us conscience, where I believe home truly resides. Our circumstances are almost always changing, or at risk of being torn from our hands without warning. Life is fleeting. Accidents happen. People inevitably disappoint. Most of the time, I feel weighed down by many of my expectations not being met. There are very few things I don’t notice, and I’ve often judged people for not seeing the world through a similar perspective. Intentionality and thoughtfulness matter deeply to me, but I’ve learned that expecting too much from my circumstances will trigger a chain reaction to expect less of myself. Getting my needs met so easily on the outside can awaken a wide-eyed goblin within me that is insatiable and ravenous for attention and care.

EW. I hate that greedy little bastard SO. MUCH.

I’m definitely still learning about what it means to find 'home' within. Holding myself accountable to my dreams and my goals is the best way I can offer safety and alignment to myself; something I used to feel guilty for. But no longer. There are many components of inner alignment that I’m still tweaking. Courage is the main virtue I’m focused on at the moment. So is my main character. What can I say? I like my restful haven of writing in solitude. It’s my anchor whenever the going gets tough. All of my emotions can be healthily channeled into a contribution that may help someone else. The notion of pain serving a purpose… ooohhh, it’s just soooo good! It’s what I’m here for.

As I close out this blurb, I’m reminded of myself as a teenager, slow-dancing with some boy that would never become a boyfriend on some sticky gymnasium floor. CLOSING TIME by Semisonic was the last song often played at school dances. Listening to the lyrics, I’d hoped that I might find safety in someone, in deep love. Later that night, I struggled to sleep on my basement floor next to my friends, realizing that maybe friendships were the true source of comfort in a time when boys felt too complicated to even begin to comprehend. And—at least I had dance classes to look forward to that week. And my parents loved me with everything in their hearts. My dogs always greeted me with kisses every day at the backdoor, and that was enough.

Oh, how I wish I could’ve told myself then what I know now. Love and family and friends and purpose, aside…. My prayer at the beginning of this post was for someone to resonate with my discoveries, but I didn’t think it would be so evident who my writing was for.

I know who I want to take me home----and it's you. Home, sweet girl, IS YOU. Unique, wonderful you… I write to you and for you. Now... close your eyes and stop worrying if everything is going to be ok. It will be.


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