"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maiden Voyage

Every writer needs a blog. Writers cling to the belief that they have something to say, and if they spend enough time honing their craft, then someone will listen. (At last count there are rumored to be more readers in the universe than writers, although this is changing daily.) And since I'm as opinionated as the next writer, this is my first, awkward, attempt at going public.

Since I have no followers, this is the perfect time. It's like singing in the shower--no one is around to hear me.  

In the spirit of introducing myself, I'll share why I added an "e" to my name. I used to be plain Ann, and it pains me even to type it here. Always I felt unsophisticated, sturdy, unfinished. I remember the day I made the decision to "e." I was driving to work and a near-death experience changed my life.

I was following a tanker truck carrying gasoline, and suddenly it began fishtailing across the lane six feet ahead of me. But Providence provided. It was my good luck to be following the world's best driver, a trucker with the presence of mind to put his turning indicators on so I knew he was swerving for a reason. Hypnotized by those blinking lights I made a split-second decision to follow him off the shoulder of the road. 

As my tires hit the dirt, the tip of a rolling twenty-foot Christmas tree brushed the side of my car. The potentially lethal tree flopped and settled in the middle of the lane--my lane. Other cars, whose drivers had the benefit of seeing it coming, maneuvered around it. On the inside lane a pickup truck with red twine hanging from the overhead racks was backing toward the traffic. I hope the driver managed to pull his Christmas tree from the road before he got run over, but I didn't stick around to see. Neither did the gasoline truck driver.   

Technically the incident might not have meant certain death, but in my mind it was close enough to qualify. Close enough to remind me that nothing's for sure, and most people are killed within fifteen miles of home. The day was December 31, 2000. I remember the radio talk station debating the point about whether it was the last day of the old millennium or whether that day would occur in 365 days. For me the new millennium had already begun, a new beginning, the day I redesigned my life. 

That near-death experience seemed to be the sign I had been waiting for, I gave myself a New Year's present: the letter "e". Ann became Anne. 

I was surprised. Once I made the decision, the universe cooperated. I expected to feel self-conscious, but the world was graciously accommodating. My husband Steve teased me for a while, calling me "Anne with an 'e'." My daughter sent an e-mail to ask, "If Ann was Mom, does that mean Anne is now Mome?" She sent me a coffee mug with my new name, a gift that warmed me more than the morning cup of tea it often holds.   

So that's it, the story of my "e". Part of my memoir, Ordinary Aphrodite. It's a gift I gave myself when I set down to record the joyous events of my life in my belief that, if we search hard enough,  everything in life has a shred of humor in it. 

See you next time. I'll post once a week, on Sundays unless something comes up.