Heidi's Pen testingwriting my way from longing to belonging
omewhere in the world there is a snapshot of me hitching a ride on the back of the red tricycle that my brother Karl is chauffeuring: I am standing tall on the bumper, paper doll-wrapped-in-blanket firmly in my arm. I am probably 4. Grandma has just come to visit us in rural Southern Chile and she’s brought with her lots of Stateside presents, including a plastic blow-up Winnie the Pooh chair, a baby doll whose hair I promptly washed and ruined, a doll blanket she had knit, and a doll carriage to push the baby around in. But very best of all were the paper doll books: you’d punch out the dolls and their clothes, which had little fold-y tabs to keep them on the doll.
I loved the plastic 3-dimensional doll, as evidenced by the hair washing—or was it a baptism?—that I gave her in one of the watering troughs in a field on my friend Rosi’s family farm. But I also loved dressing up my paper dolls with their tabbed clothes and carrying them around with me outside.
Something about imbuing a flat piece of paper with life… Maybe meaning is made in the caring and the carrying. I don’t exactly know. But I do know that I care about and carry many things.
At some point rides on tricycle became rides on airplanes, and paper dolls became notebook pages on which I scribbled letters home. At some point a thread called homesickness also began to weave itself into the fabric that is now a half-century of life.
But while homesickness has been a kind of longing that has made me close my eyes, writing is what has made me keep opening them to notice, among other things, what poet Mary Oliver calls: my “place in the family of things.”
Welcome to Heidi’s Pen… where Homesick(ness) is welcome!
A Brief History of My Crushes
My first crush ever was my best friend's brother. This was in southern Chile. His parents were farmers whose parents hailed from Germany. We--my friend, my crush, my brother, and I--played in the hay bales in their barn. My next noteworthy crush was a visiting...
(Or: Thoughts as I Walk to my Temporarily-Closed Office) Walked to my office this morning--May 29, 2020--to pick up a fan which was going unused there. Passed people wearing masks. A few not. Stopped at drugstore for a prescription. Hear man six feet in front of me...
The Old Guy in Yoga
This old guy started coming to my yoga class a few months ago. A complete beginner, I thought, based on how he’d look around to get his bearings and figure out from his neighbors where his feet should be, say, or what it meant when our teacher said “hips facing forward” for warrior one, and then “opening your hips” for warrior two, “as if you were pressed between two planes of glass.” [Continue Reading]
I have crushes on many people—Leonard Cohen, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, Rilke, Rumi, T.S. Eliot, Billy Collins, to name just a few. My blog is peppered with posts inspired by things they’ve said. That, and wishes for them never to die, which of course they will. And have. (R.I.P. Leonard Cohen). But it excites me no end that my crush list is ever-growing:
To think that there are a thousand and one artists I’ve not yet discovered, a thousand and one things I’ve not yet read, and a thousand and one fantastic songs that at this very moment I don’t even know exist… To think!
Like just yesterday when I discovered a song I really liked on a Spotify playlist called “Chicas Indie.” This morning I looked up more music by this one chica in particular. She goes by “Niña Tormenta” and what do you know: she is from Chile, the place many a homesick thread of mine traces back to. And now I can’t get enough of her comforting, soothing, one-of-a-kind songs.
To find that there is someone else in the world that puts into words—or melody, or paint, or clay, or movement or really any of the endless ways we human creatures find to express—something I have felt or thought or dreamed, well, that right there is some kind of something like love.
Writing helps me notice what I’m carrying. To care about myself kindly and fiercely, in all my smallness and in all my bigness, in all my outstandingness and in all my failure, in all my naked truth and in all the ways I’ve hidden from it, at noon and at midnight, in calm and in upset, at any weight, at any size, at any age, in any company…
Writing brings me home, wherever in the world I am.
“Hello, Sunday! Live from the Treehouse”
Change. It’s always afoot, isn’t it? And sometimes we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of big change, which is exactly where I found myself last summer: After years of telling myself I’d never ever live with roommates again (my 20’s were enough of that, thankyouverymuch!) unless the people was a he, and not just any old he but a he I was sharing a bed with, there I was, moving. Into a house. With people. Not just any old house, though. This was a parsonage with a backyard and two giant trees, one of which I had plans for… big plans… treehouse plans! (After all, I told myself, I could live anywhere that had a treehouse to hide in when needed).
Hello, Sunday! is a 37-page chapbook about a summer of change in the life of a 44-year-old woman (yup, me!) doing her best to mindfully navigate the joys and heartaches of whatever life brings, be it a bat named Bella or a skinny-dipping tomato, a remembered kiss or an up-close-and-personal storm, a Sunday dressed to the nines or a Saturday hunkered down and wrapped up in cozy scarves… In short, the stuff of life.
What’s that? You’re wondering what in the world a chapbook is? Ah. Historically, chapbooks were self-published, handmade wee books, usually of poetry, sometimes prose, or some kind of a cross between the two. Nowadays, a chapbook has come to mean a self-published electronic or paper booklet of 40 pages or less, still (usually) poetry and/or prose. Hello, Sunday! is prose, by the way (though it has been called prosetry, and it does contain one poem), and is only available as a downloadable e-chapbook.
I hope you’ll make yourself comfy, download a copy (thank you!), get yourself a mug of tea or a glass of wine, and join me on my summer of change.
P.S. I did not write this chapbook wearing my massage therapist hat. I wrote it wearing my woman-in-the-world scarf. In case you wondered, it is turquoise, and blue, and just me.
Nice things people are saying about Hello, Sunday!
~Annie (Speaking of Tea)
“Heidi, I’ve only read four chapters and I’m in love! Love your writing, love the stories. Unique and full, yet so approachable. You have a knack of writing about deep stuff in a way that isn’t heavy. Can’t wait to read more.”
~Barbara McGavin (Inner Relationship Focusing Facilitator)
“Pure delight. Makes me all warm and bittersweet happy all the way through.”
~Liz Emmett-Mattox (Dream Garden Coaching)
“Reading Hello, Sunday! is like hanging out with your smartest, funniest, goofiest friend. Sometimes you sit and laugh until you think you’re going to pee your pants. And sometimes you cry together over the heartbreaks of everyday life (the treehouse!) and take turns telling each other that it’s all going to be OK. Sometimes your friend says exactly the thing you were thinking, but much better than you could have said it. And sometimes she says these things that you never would have thought of in a million years and it makes so much sense you can’t believe no one has ever described vegetables in just that way!”
~Michelle Russell (Editor at Michelle-Russell.com)
“Hello, Sunday! is a thoroughly delightful mood piece, a kind of snapshot of a transitional summer, filled with luscious nuggets of poetic-descriptive deliciousness. The whimsy of personifying vegetables and spices (eggplant mafiosi, skinny-dipping tomatoes and such)? Priceless. Also, the driving-to-the-airport conversation? Hysterical. It’s not a book with a standard story arc, but one that makes me think, savor, and notice the commonplace things in life at least a little more deeply for having read it.”
~Pearl Mattenson (Leadership & Relationship Coach at PearlMattenson.com)
“Oh Heidi! I wanted to stop after every phrase and just cherish… every one of my senses was purring in delight. I tried to read it slowly, I swear I really did, but in the end I read it all in one go. Like the box of cookies I swore I would not indulge in. THANK YOU!”