The Life of a Blog

nest by Irish--Eyes

I woke from a tumultuous night of dreams, drenched in sweat–and drugged–one foot still in the dreamworld, the other limping toward my day.

I dreamed of the arms of my first love, and the reunion was sweet, and complete, and wondrous. We were brought together for our daughter, just discovered, to collaborate on her education.

In real life that child had been aborted, and had she not, she’d be over thirty, well past the age of needing our help with school.

Details like that don’t matter in the dreamworld and so my love and I entered an alcove off the kitchen and began the dance of reunion. Only I had to tell him how to make me come. And that kind of ruined the mood, and the illusion, that in him, I would find “home”–and so as dreams often do, my first love morphed into my lasting love–my husband; and I continued on my way.

I moved through the kitchen, past the stove, and was joined by my best friend from high school. Together we walked through rubble strewn floors, just like the roads from Irene, and as we did, we smiled at friends, seated at tables in the restaurant where I worked in my youth; and then we headed downhill, past empty desks, in the classroom where I first taught.

We ended our journey together in front of a computer, and my blog was on the screen, and my friend helped me tweak its widgets.

In the morning, when I recalled this dream, it didn’t take my resident interpreter long to figure out its meaning. “It’s about the New York Times,” my husband says, referring to yesterday’s article, which launched me and my Vermont blog into a moment of a fame.

It was two and a half years ago that I began blogging, just for fun. At the time, I was searching for myself in the rubble of my years as wife and mother and homemaker. I looked behind them toward the restaurant and the classroom, but I had outgrown each; and so I began to explore new possibilities and in doing so discovered the worldwide web of connections.

Experts and teachers offered free tele-classes, and I gobbled them up each week. Blogging and Facebook and Twitter were touted by each one for networking and platform building; and despite the fact that I had nothing to network or a platform, I dove in.

Tentative at first, I soon found that blogging offered an opportunity to share my writing without worrying about contracts or copyright or fitting into someone’s format or making a buck.

“Focus on a niche,” the experts said, but I couldn’t choose, so in less than 9 months, I gave birth to 6–one blog for each of the things I love: my work, my children, my husband, spirit, healing and Vermont.

I wrote passionately for another year with life providing no shortage of material to fill each new home. And then, having fully satisfied myself with this orgy of expression, I wanted more.

Not more blogging, but more substance. A book. Something solid. And so during the winter months I wrote it, and in the spring, I let in sleep, and in the summer I shared it with friends–just to hear it in their voices, careful not to ask for anything more, not praise or critique–nothing to distract me from the work.

Afterward, I put the book to sleep again, and took a long end of summer vacation, intending on resting my voice and delving into the pleasure of reading others, but instead life delivered one crisis after another, and I found myself blogging in a fury–from my son’s accident, to my best friend’s, to the murder, and then the floods.

And now this, the New York Times. An interview, and a link to my blog. No wonder my dreams were tumultuous.

I both crave a larger platform and fear it–worried that I’ll loose myself in the waves of change.  The humility of my life as a mother in rural Vermont has tethered me for so long that I’m reluctant to transcend it–not wanting to let go of the earth and be trampled in the dust of ego.

That the Times and the sweat-filled dreams preceded the day upon which I was to re-awaken my book should be no surprise.  With the coming of fall, my plan was to dust off this second draft and begin reading again–this time by myself–to find if there was anything worth publishing.

In the midst of all this, company arrives, and friends in need ask for help, and my family comes down with the flu.

Apparently, life and love will be the ballast I need no matter where my work takes me.

Kelly Salasin, Autumn 2011

Dis-Orient Me


As I climb the third flight of stairs on the switchback staircase that leads to my therapist’s office on the 4th floor, an insight pops into my head:

I need to disorient myself

Disorient?  That’s an unusual word to apply to self, but I know what I mean.  I’ve gotten so entrenched in my blogging world that there’s no room for anything new to emerge.

I intended to spend the bulk of my therapy session on the topic of my work, but alas my family (of origin) took precedence–again.  Even though the hour is just about up when I toss out the words “disorient” and “writing,” Carolyn visibly quickens.

“Disorient? Are you sure that’s what you mean?” she asks, leaning forward from her reclining chair across from mine.

It’s a curiosity to me, but this therapist is riveted by the writing process. She’s been a great supporter of my work over the years, even when I haven’t.  When I look back, I can see that my writing really took off when I began working with her.

“What I mean is that I want to disorient myself from what I’ve been doing, but I don’t know what else I want to do,” I explained, as I turned to look out her window–to the great expanse of the Connecticut River and the sky and the mighty Mount Wantastiquet whose fall colors had just begun to show.

“Kelly…” Carolyn began, with deep emphasis.

I love when she says my name this because it means my work is over, at least for a bit, and she’s going to tell me something–something she’s synthesized over the years that she sees in me.   (Only, I never know if it will be a uplifting or troubling.)

“This restlessness you’re feeling, it’s what comes when you’re ready to birth something new. You can’t see what’s coming, but you know you have to let go of what you’re doing in order to make room for it,” she explains.

I visibly soften and brighten at the thought of my work having a “process.”

Like a hand on the kaleidoscope of my life, Carolyn shifts my perspective, ever so slightly, transforming a jumbled view into something with meaning–and beauty.

I soak that it before I get up to leave.

That was three weeks ago, and I couldn’t wait for the follow up.  On a Tuesday morning at 10:15, the phone rang, and I heard Carolyn’s voice on the answering machine.

I’ve missed my appointment.

I stumble to the phone and offer a confused apology.  How could I have forgotten about my appointment?

But I am in the throws of a terrible cold and I have lost touch with the world of calenders and responsibilities.

“I know that cold,” Carolyn says, “It’s disorienting.”

“That’s exactly it,” I say, relieved to be understood so completely.

I return to bed with feelings of embarrassment and guilt along with fever and incessant coughing.  I haven’t had caffeine or chocolate or alcohol in a week, nor have I written a word.  When I do finally begin to write again, it’s at the pond, on paper, like in the days before laptops and blogging.

The sun’s warmth feels strange on my feverish skin, and so I remove my clothes and dive into the pond, welcoming the cold September waters.

Afterward, I wrap myself in my towel, and remain unclothed, even when others arrive too.

The sky is unusually hazy, more like a July day, but the heat inside me is greater than the sun’s, leaving me restless.  Even though the water is choppy, I head out in my kayak, appreciating the strong wake beneath my boat.

Though I prefer to paddle on a still pond where I can easily direct my course; today, I lay my paddle down and let my hands trail through the water while the wind takes me where it will.

Only then does it occur to me–I’ve gotten exactly what I want.

Kelly Salasin, late September 2010