written by Mary Rose Betten
I used to come home from performing my one woman show at the theatre – crawl into bed with my husband, audience applause ringing in my ears, we’d snuggle and he’d whisper: “I want you to remember that applause, okay? Whenever your spirits get down. Promise me you will never forget that applause.” I would laugh and promise: ‘Okay, I will never forget.’
Years went by, twenty, thirty, forty, until the night of Presidents day 2011 when I came home from a one-night performance, applause ringing in my ears, crawled into my empty kingsized bed. That ocean of a bed where I wavered, aimless as a stick thrown for a dog the wind blowing branches against the window, scratching lines never to be read and announced to the night: ‘I don’t want to be an actress, I want to be a sage. A great cast iron bird atop some weathered barn in the middle of nowhere indicating: ‘This way, this way, come along, I’ll show you the way. I’ll keep you safe.’
I woke to morning sunlight, my brain marinated, fingers aching to announce, ‘The wind is blowing this way. Feel it? Come along.’ Quickly I found my bathrobe, snuggled into the canoe of my writing chair, laptop for an oar and headed out, navigating the threat of empty space, Henry Miller’s words mapping my path. “Stop looking for a miracle,” Henry bellowed, (Henry never whispered) “You are the miracle.” And I wrote my way back to shore promising I would write, write, write.