Looking for Signs
My book, Looking for Signs, is a collection of essays and columns from newspapers and magazines. Looking for Signs is available at The Book House in Albany, NY and Market Block Books in Troy. It is also available from Amazon.com.
The first time that I read T.S. Eliot’s poem, Journey of the Magi, I knew I was home. Someone else had understood this risk of writing, of creating, of living. He wrote,
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears saying,
That this was all folly.
My life has always felt like that.
For years my family told the story of how I began to write before I knew how to write. I had a kind of made-up cursive writing—all swirls and dashes—and I “wrote” stories and even a “newspaper” in my toddler typeface. I understand now that this was not so farfetched for a little girl who saw her parents reading four newspapers a day. I grasped what mattered and how to create it for myself.
But what went unsaid was how to make a creative life. I always wanted –and perhaps still do want –to have clear signs to direct my life’s work. I have read bubble gum fortunes and played with Ouija Boards, and I have wished for skywriting or an envelope from God with my name on it that contained a note saying, “Diane, here’s what you should do.”
What I see now is that during all those years of wondering about, and suffering over, what to do when I grew up, is that I had always been writing. My vocation was hiding in plain sight.
The other thing that was always part of me, but again hidden right in front of me, was that I cared deeply about what makes people tick. What is it that makes us good or bad, happy or scared or…
That pondering is an inescapable part of me. Why? Why? Yes, the toddler again. I wanted to know how people came to be the way they were. There were very compelling and heartbreaking reasons that I was trying to figure out the people closest to me– my brothers, my mother, my father (you’ll find all of them in these essays)–but I was also trying to figure out myself. What did I want and why did I want it? What did I feel, and how had that come to be?
I am still doing that. I’m still following breadcrumbs and stars and footprints and ideas.
Those journeys are here in the essays of “Looking for Signs”.
No, I haven’t made a living from writing. But I have made a life.
Publisher: The Troy Book Makers (2013)
Details: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches, 6.4 ounces