There Is No Clean Slate

I am writing a book.

Holy shit.

It still feels somewhat surreal to write those words – with all of the weight and meaning I attach to them as a  voracious reader and lifelong lover of words.  I have always been a hoarder of journals, buying new ones to have that fresh page spread open in front of me, to begin something anew – a literary tabula rasa of sorts.

I cannot tell you how many times I have longed for that clean slate – to wipe the past away and just start over.  To somehow will that fresh start into becoming my reality rather than just my dream – foolishly thinking that a new and uncracked binding would magically translate into a new and uncracked life, and memory.

A new and uncracked heart.

I have never gotten past the third page in any of the dozens – yes, dozens – of journals I have bought in the past 20+ years that I have gone from using my allowance, then paycheck, to buy them.  And I never understood why.  I love writing – I need to write in order to feel whole – why isn’t it fixing me?  Why can’t I get past the beginning of writing myself a new future?  Why am I stuck with these stacks of journals – all full of hope and promise on one or two or three pages – and then filled with nothing but a useless army of black lines patiently waiting in a sea of white…?

I have gotten my answer.

Because I have learned through writing here – a place where I have felt alternately safe, and vulnerable, and empty, and whole – that I need to look back before I can move forward.

And it is hard to go there.

And sometimes it is hard to come here.

Because I don’t know how far I can go out on that limb with you before it will break – before you will think that I’ve gone too far and you will walk away.

And I have grown to need you here.

And that is hard to admit.

Because how many of us actually turn to the people in our lives and tell them “I need you.”?

My heart pounds when I write here.  My palms sweat.  And I have grown to realize that that’s a good thing – a sign that I am not holding back – that I am putting it all out here for you to see, that I am being authentic.  But is there more that I could say?  Are there things I have not yet divulged to you? Of course.

But I’m not sure that you’re ready to hear all of it yet.

I’m not sure that you will still be there.

And now I have a literary agent, and I’m writing that story down – all of it – to hopefully be published in a memoir.  And that scares the crap out of me.

Because what if people don’t want to read my story? What if they don’t buy my book?

What if they do?

Do you want to hear my story?  Will it help you?  Will it help me?  Will it hurt someone?  Will it heal someone?

Will it heal me?

Will it finally fix those parts of me that are so, so broken?

I look back and I laugh, and I cry, for that silly girl who thought that $14.99 and a pretty journal with an inspirational quote on the cover, and a Bic pen could fix her.

I wish I knew then what I know now – that nothing can be fixed without first looking at what’s broken.


  1. says

    take comfort in knowing that those that know you well will always be there and those that are inspired by you will continue to look foward to reading your blog and your book (and some like me will fall into both categories!)

  2. says

    Congratulations – I for one will be lined up to read that book, and I can’t WAIT. I absolutely love the image that we can’t fix anything without looking hard at what’s broken. I think the heart pounding and tears signify that you’re going deep which in turn means your book will be lovely, honest, true. Let me say again: I can’t wait to read it. xoxoxo

    • says

      That means so much coming from you, Lindsey… A woman I respect and a writer whose words I have gained so much from myself – I consider myself lucky to call you “friend”… xoxo, J.

  3. says

    Yes. I want to read it and to know it. And to stand on the ground as your friend while you ride on the highs and lows of this emotional roller coaster. I’ll meet you at the bottom and we can go get cotton candy together. I’m proud of you.

    • says

      I am always thrilled to read the comments that people leave here, and touched to read their thoughts on my posts and their own experiences – but this brought me to tears. Because it was beautiful, yes, but also because I know the beautiful soul that it came from… How fortunate I am to know that beautiful soul. xoxo, J.

  4. Shieva says

    I will buy it. And 10 more for all the people I KNOW who will want to read it to help fox themselves as well.

    • says

      You have been there (literally) from the moment I became a mother, Shieva – and every single moment that has come after. You have been through the mill yourself, and your words mean that much more because of it. xoxo, J.

  5. Melissa says

    I’m a new reader and can already say I would love to read your book. Your words speak to me as a woman, a mother and a soul searcher. Please keep sharing. As long as you write authentically and from your heart, it will be right. Anyone who doesn’t like it can move on. I’m guessing more people will be touched and will never leave.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Melissa! Those are such generous and encouraging words and I appreciate them so, so much. It is not always easy to put myself out there in the raw and open way that I do, but reading sentiments like yours remind me of why it’s worth it… J.

  6. says

    i will keep reading! and i will buy your book:) my daughter also had a stroke, so i look forward to your posts…you are authentic, raw, and hopeful while not being annoyingly optimistic about everything. thank you! you are such an encouragement to me on weary days when i feel alone because of the challenges we face with our daughter.

    • says

      Thank you for your support, Christina! I am so sorry to hear about the common diagnosis our children share, but glad to know that my writing has helped you to feel less alone. I hope you’ll keep reading and sharing here… J.

  7. says

    Your writing is beautiful and it’s wonderful that you are going to write a book. But there is no straight line between looking at what is broken and fixing it. Not everything that is broken can (or should) be fixed.

    Perhaps by looking back you will learn that you truly are not broken. We are human, imperfect, and most of us do the best we can. I believe that is enough. Write your story because you want to. Don’t worry about who will read it. The truth is what it is.

    We are moving forward all the time, whether we know it or not.

    • says

      Thank you for this sage well of advice you have left for me here, Elizabeth. There is truly so much to be considered and thought about in your comment, and I promise you that I will do just that. I hope you’ll keep sharing here… J.

  8. says

    Congratulations on scoring an agent. That is wonderful. Writing is a cathartic process, and when you embark on something as monstrous as a book, there’s a lot to uncover there. Best of luck. I believe in you!

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