Thank you, Laurie Blake

I have decided to relocate.

The man can sit silently in the morning, sipping coffee, waking up slowly, reading the morning paper or watching videos on beekeeping, hydroponic gardening, woodworking, who knows what, until the very instant my pen hits the surface of the paper, at which time he decides it’s time to talk.

To me. Usually on a Saturday or Sunday, the only free mornings of the week.

About politics, pet peeves, the news, anything that will get me riled up, on edge, and off writing.

Perhaps he cannot stand to see my soul bleed out onto the page, blue ink spewing rhythmically with the regular pumping of my heart.  Perhaps he doesn’t realize that what he causes is more than an irritant.  It doesn’t matter.  If I’m going to write, I need space and time.

Don’t get me wrong.  He’s a wonderful man. Honest, productive, caring, creative, generous, hard-working, loving. Plus he takes hold of my pillow after I get up in the morning and hugs it to himself for a while before starting his day.

I don’t want to get up another hour earlier.  Sleep is too important for maintaining health and sanity to pretend it is dispensable.  And by evening, the day’s activities have shattered the crystalline impressions that glaze the first hour or so of wakefulness. By 10:00 PM, the need to sleep has become my master.  The blank page would remain blank if it were not for the early part of the day.  I do not use an alarm clock or clock radio.  I do not like to awaken unnaturally with the first few moments of being awake spent sitting on the edge of the bed, stunned.

So what I have decided to do is relocate.

To another room.

For writing in the morning.

Why finally decide this morning?  Because Laurie Blake died.  Who is Laurie Blake, you might ask.  I didn’t know either until I heard that she had died. While reading one of her obituaries yesterday I learned that she was a beloved high school English teacher, whose favorite class to teach was Creative Writing.  I learned that she had run in twenty-one marathons, including Boston’s. I read that she was only three years older than me, and I assure you, that is much too young to die. She had suffered from brain cancer.

I didn’t know any of these things until after she died, because to me she was the nameless woman with whom I crossed paths hundreds of times. She was the tremendously fit and beautiful woman, with long blonde hair tied back into a pony tail that trailed behind her as she would run from the opposite direction in which I was walking. As I, an oversized woman with graying and shoulder-length free flying hair of similar age would approach her, we would always smile and say hello.  Runners don’t often bother to smile or say hello to walkers.  Laurie did, and she didn’t scorn me for only walking. We made eye contact, and her smile was encouraging and genuine.  Many times after sharing the sidewalk with her for the few split seconds it took for us to share our greeting, I would find that there was a little more spring in my step, and I felt better about walking rather than worse for not running.  For split seconds at a time, we knew each other.  We shared splinters of joy in what we shared, being outside in the fresh air, moving our bodies. Then we would carry on with our own private lives and it didn’t matter that we didn’t know each other.  Dare I hope to think that my smile and greeting was an encouragement to her?

Friday night, while I was out on my walk the grief set in, and I began to mourn the loss of Laurie Blake.  She was much too young to die, but death didn’t care.  It took her anyway. And that is why I am relocating to another room for writing.  Laurie didn’t run marathons by running only short distances and sprints.  She trained, she practiced, she paced herself, and she ran nearly every day.  She relocated to the outdoors.  She took space and time for herself to engage in her passion.

She was too young to die, and so am I, so today I decided to make space and time for myself so I can write. Life will go on without me for a little while, and maybe, just maybe I can leave something behind that will be an encouragement to another person, as fleeting as our encounter might be.



  1. Nancy said,

    May 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Andrea, This is so perfect…thanks for sharing your guft.

  2. Nancy said,

    May 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Not sure what a guft is..I meant GIFT, of course 🙂

  3. May 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    What a lovely essay. Each of us is connected by such small and meaningful friendships along the way. Thank you, Andrea.

    • May 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment, Andrea! It’s a pleasure to know you, and thank you for reading my blog.

  4. Corlies Delf said,

    May 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Andrea, it’s good to understand how intentional you’re willing to be, in order to write.

    • May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks, Corlies! Have to keep going back to the beginning, but it’s worth it.

  5. Carol Nathan said,

    May 21, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I am so glad that you decided to relocate. Keep up the good work.

  6. Catherine Ribblett said,

    July 14, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    You are a wonderful, compassionate soul. Enjoying the read…Cathy

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