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Kansas City MO 64131






Cindy Maddera


NaNoWriMo has come to an end, along with NaPhoPoMo and NaBloPoMo. I did not write 50,000 words. I wrote 29,945 words. I don't even think my Master's Thesis contained this many words. I think if I'd worked really hard last week, I would have reached 40-45,000 words. Honestly though, I hardly wrote ten words last week and even then I'm still not sure there's 50,000 words in this particular story (though there are people out there strongly disagreeing with that). I may not have "won" at NaNoWriMo, but I did win several prizes. The first prize is recognizing that I need to set aside non blogging writing time for myself. The second prize is this foundation of a book that I've got going. The book I've got going. That still boggles my mind that I've written a shitty first draft of my very own. Not a list. Not a short blurb of a blog post, but a gin-you-wine shitty first draft. It still makes my head spin that I may actually, after some serious editing, have a book that people may actually want to read. Meaning, I'll really just have a book that only friends and family will read, but so what. It's there and I thought I'd share the last paragraph I've written. Here is an excerpt from The Widow Maddera's Handbook to Widowhood: "All of this, my new life with Michael, doesn't mean I don’t still grieve for Chris. I still think about the what if it never really happened part. What would the two of us be up to today? We would take silly Christmas card photos. Every year would be a new theme. The first year we did ugly Christmas sweaters. One year it was a Christmas themed American Gothic photo. I wonder what this year’s theme would have been, what crazy scheme we would have come up with. While traveling to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving, Neko Case’s “South Tacoma Way” started playing on the radio. The lyrics wrapped around my heart, squeezed and then pulled my heart from my chest and stomped on it. The song is about loss and grief. “Couldn't pay my respects to a dead man. Your life was much more to me.” Michael was asleep in the passenger seat and didn't hear the song or see how it left me shattered in pieces. I still walk this line between two men. There are equal parts guilt, relief, sadness and joy in this. Right up until I met Michael I thought for sure I was un-fixable, that I could never love another man. I was sure that I would be settling for someone I felt just comfortable enough to spend time with. I was positive that I would keep my solitary life. I also thought I’d spend the rest of my life with Chris. Life never happens the way you think or expect it should. And most likely you are never prepared for the unexpected. Life is all about choice. All those cliched metaphors about trees bending in the wind are true though. You either learn to bend or you break. I chose to bend. I chose to believe that my life didn't end with Chris’s. I chose to believe there’s still the possibility of good things for my life. Michael, the Cabbage, my family, my friends, are all such wonderfully good things in my life. Sure it could all be gone again tomorrow, but for every moment of sadness and pain, I've had thousands of moments of joy and love. I suck at math, but even I can see that joy-love/sad-pain ratio is high, so high it can almost (almost) cancel out the bad. I hold onto those good memories of my time with Chris like a dragon guards his treasures, while I continue to gather new ones with Michael. I’m going to have the most glorious treasure chest of memories."

I really believe that.