I write because, perhaps, my words will confirm someone else’s dilemma. I write because I have stories to tell; it doesn’t matter that I can’t recall the exact date, the precise time, the correct season, the flawless dialogue, the accurate sequence. I am peeling the layers of memory with commitment to openness.
I grew up in the generation when bras, panties, pads, birth, bladder and tummy control were not advertised on TV. My upbringing did not involve all day news, remote controls, iPads, cellphones, Instagram, emoji, Fitbit or Alexa. I am fully aware of my technological limitations, so gentle reminders from teenagers are not necessary. Rolling eyes can stick, you know.
I wore leggings at age 3 in Detroit, and now I wear them to church on Sundays with a long, tailored shirt and scarf. I am hardly a savvy senior, but rather a seasoned one. Who knew?
I am fully respectful of my audience; we are wives, grandmothers, widows, barely senior men and women, struggling caregivers, engaged educators, aging subscribers to the Gazette. We like to hold the book, the newspaper, the document, the instructions. My favorite book is Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form. I love words, not wordiness.
I live in a household of redundancies:
Do you need black slacks? Who’s asking?
Weren’t your nails done last week? Perhaps.
Is that what you’re wearing to church? No, I thought I’d change in the church bathroom.
Where did you put the phone last? It’s not there.
Are those jeans too tight? I know!
This kitchen needs organization. Alphabetize spices?
Mom, is that a new bathing suit? Yes, the sleeves were a bit snug on last year’s.
Recently, my husband was making marinara sauce, enough for a fighter squadron. He had various plastic containers scattered throughout the kitchen and was ready to abandon the whole project because he couldn’t find lids. I found the proper fitting lids before he blew his.
I come from the generation that squeezes the last drop of shampoo from the container; I fold the toothpaste to splitting. When I was growing up, cotton balls and Kleenex were frivolous.
I write because I am in a current state of flight from myself. I own my writing voice; I take the mumbo jumbo of facts and feelings and narrate myself. I am cautiously aware of mission drift; “What do you want the readers to know and where did you tell them?”
Knowles is a writer and resident of James City County.