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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

That Saturday after my week of being sick, I was finally getting back into my groove. I got up and did my usual morning routine. Heirloom, breakfast biscuit, coffee, and my Fortune Cookie journal. I had just had a week of nothing, where I hadn't written a single word of creativity. Everything written and posted that week was complaining about being sick or a laundry list of pointless. I admit. I'm good at those kind of posts. They're easy, but no one wants to read that crap. The creative posts, the ones where I have to look things up and spend actual time contemplating the words I'm going to type out, those are the hard ones. Those are the ones where I have to work, but I've noticed that even if only five people read it after I've done the work to write it, those kind of posts make me feel pretty dang good. It's like that after workout feeling some people talk about getting after a good spin class. My fortune prompt for this day was "The most beautiful views have the hardest climbs."

She felt it all the way up her right side. She'd fallen hard, slipping on a rock. The moss on the rock making it slick and treacherous. She hugged her knee into her chest, rocking while trying to breathe away the pain. The voices in her head started their chattering. "What on earth made you think you could do this?" "You are physically incapable of climbing a dumb mountain." "You're not even wearing the right shoes." "I think the number is 10. 10 years ago you might could do this. 10 lbs lighter you might could do this." "You are weak." She heard those voices loud and clear. She could give up. Easy. Limp her way back down the trail. She turned her head to look up and saw the sun sparkling through the trees. And she knew. She couldn't give up. She stood, gingerly testing out her leg. Then she continued to pull herself up the mountain. 

I finished writing that journal entry and my whole body felt lighter. I have a theory. All of us have the ability to be creative in some way or another. Some of us have to work harder than others at creativity. For some people, it's just easy, but even if it's a struggle to write or paint or whatever, we have to make the effort to do so. If we don't, that pent up creativity forms knots of tension inside our bodies. You don't even realize they're weighing you down until you've done something creative to release them.

I've been thinking a lot about labels lately. We label things to make sense of them, to understand, to be able to have conversations about those things. Sometimes, though, those labels are too confining to describe the reality of what that thing is or who that person is. I've always been so resistant to being called a writer because it's hard for me to see myself as such. I am more than any one label. We are all more than any one label. I think this is why I've fallen in love with my Fortune Cookie journal. It makes me feel like maybe I am a writer. It reminds me I am more than any one label. 

I've written other stories since the one posted in today's entry. There's a story about arguments and ice cream and how Chris used to bribe me with ice cream to get me to go to a computer store. My latest one is about trading lemons for cookies. It involves a woman with an over abundance of lemons from her backyard lemon tree and a man with an over abundance of cookies from his backyard cookie tree. It's a silly short story that makes me smile at the idea of cookies growing on trees. It doesn't have to be good or polished. I just have to take a moment to let myself be inspired. Every time I do this, I am filled with joy. I went home that Saturday after finishing the hardest climb story and once again thanked Michael for giving me that journal. This time it was more than a simple "thank you". This time it was more of a heartfelt "no, really. THANK YOU!" I told him that he had no idea how much this journal makes me happy or how important it has become to my Saturday mornings. 

Because all of that is true. 

Happy Love Thursday. May your day be filled with love and joy on this Thanksgiving Day.