Faithwalk: What happens when women talk?

 

I

“I can do the job better than those with Masters and Ph.D.s,”  the woman said.
“A woman who has a degree and has stayed at home to raise a family is usually the best candidate for the job,” the other woman said.
“They have more time, more organized, and career-driven.” Woman looked at text iphone message. “After raising kids,…”
“And caring for parents,” the other woman interjected.
“Less life interruptions,” the woman said.
“We’re better candidates, volunteerism and community service alone is major experience.” “You have a Masters,” the woman said. “And even freelance experience.”
“Yeah, but a Ph.D. got tenure track, not me,” the other woman said.
“Does she have children?”
“Two toddlers and a baby on the way,” the other woman said.
“I can’t imagine trying to take care of my babies and a full-time job,” the woman said. “But I made the sacrifice, family first.”
“Our life is in God’s hands,” the other woman said.
“His plans are always better than my plans.”

II

Two days later the women talked over the telephone.
“Speaking of plans have you been writing down your ideas?” The other woman said.
“Not really, working two jobs is exhausting,” the woman said.
“Do you know if you write things down it happens?” the other woman said.
“Please, Girl,” the woman said.
“I’ve been journaling for years, but last week I started rereading old journals and…”
“What did you find?”
“A list I wrote in 1999 and all things happened. Even you, a dear friend that I could trust,” the other woman said. “That’s not all. After the divorce I wrote a letter to God describing my next husband.”
“Did it happen?” the woman said.
“Money, homeowner, no kids; but he was creepy.”
“So sometimes we don’t know what we want even if we write it down, or not,” the woman said.
“Taught me a lesson, I need to leave room for God,” the other woman laughed.
“Did you throw that list away?”
“No, I crossed it out, and wrote Lord, you know best.,” the other woman said. “Now, when I look at that page in my journal, I’ll know who’s in charge.”
“Good way to look at it,” the woman said.
“I did have a fabulous summer traveling, and that was one of my prayers…that I wrote down.”
“Maybe I’ll try it.”

III

Three weeks later, the friends talk again.
“I got the full time position, a raise, and the company is paying for me to go back to school.” The woman throws her hands in the air. “Oh, my daughter is engaged. She’s waited for that man to propose for three years.”
“I’m happy for you.” The other woman smiled.
“I did what you said, I wrote it down.”

Wearing a red cape

On Thursday, May 15, I awoke at 6 a.m. to complete a deadline and then drove my eldest daughter to school. Upon my return home, I woke up my youngest daughter, not an easy task, then piled lunch food on the counter and returned to my laptop to polish one last article and email it to the editor. My daughter made us lunch for the school field trip, while I dressed. Yes, earlier I drove my teenager to school wearing my pajamas.

Well, I was ready to sit on the bus with 50 fifth-graders and read. I was looking forward to just sitting, after a week of no more than five hours sleep. I entered the classroom, the teacher said, “There’s no room on the bus, parents will have to drive.”

I asked the other parents would they like to carpool. The men said no the women said yes. And guess who was designated driver. I’ve had the book, Fryer Street and Environs, by Marita Bonner, on my desk for almost two months, I was sure today I would read one of her short stories.

In the car we go, off to Esopus River, behind a bus driver who does not stop at yellow lights. I decided this was a good thing, at least I would get home in time to change my clothes and catch the 2:43 Metro North train.

At the river, I learned about beach combing, how to fish with a net, why catfish have whiskers, how to identify pond insects and just because the water is clear doesn’t mean its clean, just because the water is dirty doesn’t mean its polluted. And of course, the session was running into overtime 1:15 p.m. and it was a 30 minute ride home.

In the car, I call my two traveling partners, for estimated time of arrival. 1:50p.m. My phone beeped. “Angela I just can’t go tonight I have a spitting headache,” my friends said. I had expected her to drive, so I could look over my essay for the reading.

In the my house I flat ironed my hair and changed my clothes. I called my other friend and said, “let’s drive.” Again, I am behind the wheel. D and I always have fun together and there are two things we can look forward to: a)getting lost; b)me scaring the pants off her with my erratic driving skills.

“Have you ever had a day, where you know you’re wearing a red cape,” I said to D. “I have mine on.”

She laughed.

Well, with a GPS we did not get lost, but D held her breath several times. We arrived at our designation at 4:30 p.m. One hour before the event. “Let’s go in” I said. “The early bird catches the worm.”

Living the writer’s life

We entered Levine Greenberg Literary Agency and were the first to arrive for the literary reading. The silver journal, “The Truth about the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction” sat along the ledge of the wall. My essay, “The Last Eight Months,” had been included in the Spring 08 issue and D came as a supporter.

A black man with long dreads, silver rimmed glasses and a black hat greeted us. “I’m Michael Datcher, youRaising Fences know like Michael Jordan only cuter.” I introduced myself and my friend and remember my piece, as well as the editor who accompanied us on the elevator ride. “Page 26, take your three copies from the wall.”

He disappeared. The room began to buzz with music and loud chatter. I realized Michael is the author of Raising Fences. ( I read that book last year, I am honored to be at this event.) Chicken, salad, wine and beer are served. Circles of writers, agents and editors stand around. I talk with writers from Chicago, L.A. Turkey Vermont and NYC. Michael doesn’t hesitate to be my evening mentor, pointing out the people I should talk to including his agent and an editor for Simon and Schuster. I had a blast and of course showed off, (only writer wearing a two-piece pin striped suit with white collar) at the reading as they say “I popped a collar.” Yes, I pitched my book.

At evenings end, I soared home red cap and all.