"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer."
Rilke said that in his Letters to a Young Poet. Of course, I'm not young. And I'm only a wanna-be poet. But this idea of questions and answers and finding out who you are has been on my mind a lot lately. If you'd asked me three months, one week, and three days ago who I was, my answers would've been completely different than they are now. Now, I'm full of used-to-be's: I used to be an English teacher. I used to be a working mom. I used to be the mom of three kids. I used to be a runner. I used to be known as the owner and gardener of a lovely yard.
Now, though, the answers have changed. Now I'm an English teacher on an indefinite sabbatical. Now I'm a stay-at-home mom. Now I'm the mom of four kids. Now I'm hobbling around in a walking cast with a stress fracture. Now my yard is more weeds than flowers because I'd rather goo at my baby than pull out my garden trowel.
All of which has made me realize something. One of the big questions, the one I'm finding the answer to gradually, the "who I am," is both always changing and always staying the same. Some things change---work, attitudes, circumstances. Some things don't. And for me, the things that don't change are these roles: mom, wife, writer. To me, a writer's a person who needs words like she needs air, someone who is always trying to write better. Maybe I've cobbled that definition together because my scant publications (a few poems in college literary mags, some articles in Simple Scrapbooks magazine) hardly qualify me as a "real writer." But I love words. I love fooling around with sentences. One of my favorite possessions is my Roget's Super Thesaurus. I notice grammar errors and point them out to my husband Kendell (who couldn't care less!). And I live my life looking for those ellusive answers, with a pen and a notebook or my keyboard as my map.