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Magnificent Mess

Middle of My Memoir

By Ellen StedfeldPublished 9 months ago Updated 8 months ago 3 min read
Who am I, and who will I be?

Well, if you think in probabilities of how long I'll live, at 37.5 x2=75 seems likely these days, while my great-grandma lived to 97/2=48.5 so it tracks that I'd be writing my middle memoir about now, possibly projecting into the next 10 years. (Though by then, they might have invented technology that keeps as alive another lifetime. Or the world could end tomorrow.)

Short of that, I do like the idea that the middle of my story is what I'm starting literally today. Think about that often, as a few pale hairs come in. I could still live another of the life I've lived already... so now is the time to decide what the rest of it will look like.

Unless I got the assignment wrong. If it's the middle of what I've got so far, 37/2=18.5 when college just began? Doubtful that's the intention, but this brings to mind that it was also a significant turning point. One that I appreciate greatly for what it was, but sometimes wish I'd handled things differently. However, regrets are irrelevant to dwell on, unless you use them to inform your next steps.

Both are mid-points that herald a new beginning. So then, what are my next steps, based on what I've learned and what I regret? In that sense, I can use these "middles" to speak on both what was, is, and hope will be.

Write now, right now, it is to write! Yes, and that's what we're all here for, with an online reading/writing platform. But as I become more aware of how there's increasingly less time to get my stories down on a page - or in whatever many unusual forms they may take - it becomes important to find ways they CAN happen instead of being held back by the reasons they can't. To find ways to create, even when timing and circumstances seem unlikely. It might look more scrambly than neat, but I'm getting myself together and forming habits that will make these practices a priority.

Everything is like that right now, an interesting state of in-between. Established but uneven. Tackled boldly, but not yet what it aught to be. Sometimes, waiting patiently for that next turn in the bend. Still pivoting from my mis-steps and battling my ignorance. And tempted to say that if only I'd made wiser use of certain situations, I'd be in a better place today... but still believing that this must be exactly where I'm meant to be.

It might be easiest to explain where life is at by describing my room. Unfortunately, it looks like a mess right now. But one filled with drawings and books and freshly cleaned laundry. One where I see all the random items I still plan to transform into art - seeming like clutter, but containing true promise. When a cloud of discouragement looms, I remind myself how I know the stories and reasons for everything, and can attest the progress being made from one day to the next. Like the big glass bowl full of clothes I still need to mend, but smartly consolidated with a cute sign to designate. The brown bag of wrapping paper and jug of scraps sit ready to be collaged. I just sorted the sketches from a series of music shows, cleared off most of my desk, though it's hard to maintain with several projects pending.

My main stories/novels/comics that I tackle today are still those that originated from my other "middle", when I was enchanted by YA fantasy, but then continued to revise and revisit these narratives over the years. Something in them couldn't be let go, had to keep taking on new iterations. I both bemoan and cheer that they weren't completed then, as I pave fresh tracks for them now, deepen character motivations, tighten plot points.

If I'm going to ever get them done, now's as good a time as ever. After all, today's the beginning of the middle of the rest of my life!


About the Creator

Ellen Stedfeld

Perpetually immersed in drawing, illustration, and creative experiments, at live events and

Community arts in NYC/Queens -- LIC Arts Open festival May 15-19th 2024

Love participating in challenges to motivate new work!

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