I love to write.

I give nearly all the credit for my love of writing to Everything2. I first got on E2 in November, 2001; I read around for several months while posting very little. I got more active during February, 2002, when I was scrambling to finish my thesis; and I found that doing a little bit of creative writing first thing in the morning would get a flow going, and I wrote more, and more easily. And I was happier to write.

Before E2, I could write, but it was a bit like pulling teeth – I wrote reluctantly, and minimally.

I also, in my ignorance, caused a certain amount of newbie controversy. I wrote a node that was chinged by several people, and then deleted; with a terse note explaining that “we” were “raising the bar”. I also wrote a poem, intended to be tongue in cheek, on Valentine’s Day, and found that it got me quickly both loved and hated. Oops. Apparently this place had a more complex internal structure (culture?) than appeared at first glance.

You are going to need a big princess-type dress, I cannot fight for the honor of someone wearing cowboy pyjamas

My sister-in-law died last week. She was 45, and she had been valiantly fighting ovarian cancer for three years.

She was one of the most genuine people I have ever known – with Susan what you saw was what you got, and most of the time that was pure, unfiltered glee. When she babysat for her young niece, I would come home to find that she had rearranged the living room to make it easier to pull Tess around the coffee table in her Radio Flyer. The place was trashed, but they had clearly had a wonderful time. Tessie referred to Susan as her fairy godmother.

She is in the heartbeat you hear around you, listen

There are times that I still struggle to write, but once I get going, I love it. Words have become another way that I paint, as I try to express something important or difficult, or try to make sense of something that is happening to me. I love word games, rhyming, puns, hunting up the meaning of words…Being here and writing has allowed me to bring that quality of playing with words into my writing, and turn it from am chore into a pleasure.

I struggled the past few days, wishing I could write poetry on demand. Alas, my poems usually come streaming out at odd times, and I can’t necessarily crank one out just because I want to – there has to be an idea, a hook, something that catches my attention and makes me start to paint with words.

September is hers

I want to be able to write a poem for Susan. I probably will, in the coming days, but ripeness, as it were, hasn’t arrived, yet. The past week I have been stretched so thin that any time I don’t have other things requiring my attention, I think about sinking into sleep, rather than being able to clear my mind enough to hear poetry.

I have been listening so much, and providing so much support, (with one amazing person providing it to me in my turn) I have had little time to be silent. I suspect I need a certain amount of silence to allow words to flow, like a spring.

Are we listening, or are we just being silent?

Grieving sucks. I had forgotten how much it sucks, how it drains all the color out of the world around me, takes the smile off my face and leaves only sad eyes, and makes me weary. Sunday, the day of Susan's memorial, I told Kevin that all I wanted was to make a tent of the covers, hide inside, and read comic books with a flashlight. (I hoped he would slide a cup of tea and some toast and maple butter in to me every so often. Among other things, it appears that grieving makes me revert to age six.)

The other part of grief that I had forgotten was anger. Actually, anger isn't the right word. Rage. The word rage seems more appropriate - rage that a disease that had already taken someone I loved beyond measure, repeated itself. Rage that part of this human experience which we share with one another ends.

The emotion on her face was always the one that she was feeling in her heart.

Today I'm desperately hungry for a moment of quiet in my life. I've worked so hard over the past several years to find and then develop a sense of balance, and harmony. The past few months have been wild; starting a new job, falling in love, losing a dear friend to this beastly cancer. I handle it, but at the same time, right now, any moment of quiet I might get is impinged upon, sometimes only by the sounds of my own emotions. I need time to catch up with them all. A month, a week, a day where I could just sit and listen or be silent sounds so delicious. And yet I know as long as the circle of people around me continues to expand, the crises will, as well. How do I find a quiet center within this?

So this leads me, I'll admit somewhat obliquely, to the question: are we listening, or are we just being silent? There is a threshold within a friendship, where we shift from smaller amounts of time spent, to where we spend enough time together to let a silence fall. Someone I can sit in the same room with, and read a book, or just sit and watch a sunset with, is incredibly precious to me. Once someone in my life has reached this point, I am loth to ever let them go. There are not ever enough people with whom I can have a comfortable silence, and losing one untimely tears a piece out of my heart.

Some day soon, I'm going to carve out a day just for Susan. A walk in the woods, a quiet cup of tea, photographs and souvenirs and all. Some of the time I will just be silent, some of it I will listen.

And I hope, once I've reached a state where I can quiet the chatter in my head, I will still be able to hear her.

Susan Chung
requiescat in pace

For Michael Doyle and Mary Beth Doyle