One Year by Kelli Wescott
Yesterday I broke my toe (It’s just the pinky and I’m totally fine – but I appreciate your momentary concern). Wednesday marks my one year anniversary with San Diego Writers, Ink. Sunday my son turns nine months old exactly.
Sunday is also Blazing Laptops where these three events will absorb me as I sit, with my right foot elevated, in a coffee shop with other writers supporting the organization which has become like another child to me, writing about being a mother. It will be the longest stretch of time I’ve spent writing since I became a mother. Well, since ever.
Up until he was born, I’d been in a writing group for six years, bringing roughly eight pages every other week. But I didn’t consider myself a writer. I was a person who wrote. I didn’t try to publish. I wasn’t looking for an agent. In interviewing for this job, I confessed these thoughts and how, only recently, had I started to call myself a writer. While I’ve probably written less this year than any other year in my life since I learned to form letters, I’ve felt more and more comfortable claiming the term.
For the first six months of working at SDWI and the first four months of my son’s life, I didn’t write. It wasn’t because I had writer’s block or because the sleep deprivation of new parenthood is so immobilizing I couldn’t hold a pen (although that’s not untrue), but because I didn’t sit down to do it. So, when Rob asked if I’d cover Brown Bag for him since he had to teach on Tuesdays this past semester, I leapt at the chance to be in a room with writers on a regular basis. However brief. And now images become words again. Sitting outside watching my son laugh when the wind plucks bougainvillea petals and they flutter like delicate, fuchsia helicopters on our patio. At the grocery store when the fake rain thunders over the organic heads of lettuce, green and bald, nestled like Easter eggs in between trunks of asparagus and ruffled red-leaf lettuce, billowing like bridesmaid dresses. My broken toe, slightly blueish like a tootsie roll left in the bottom of a Halloween bag, after being snapped on the wheel of a polka-dotted umbrella stroller while walking my son to the Ethnic Food Festival in Balboa Park after taking his picture 83 times on the orange, crusty playground swings against a sky the color of newborn kitten’s eyes.
So, I’m excited for Blazing Laptops this Sunday. What better way to celebrate my first year with SDWI and my son’s first nine months than sitting in a room with other writers writing, putting down all these images and linking them into some semblance of a story or two or twelve about how proud I am to be his mother and how honored I am to be your executive director.
KELLI WESCOTT has worked in nonprofits for a decade or so. On whim, she’s dabled in community theater, stand-up comedy from World Renowned Pretty Funny Women and woodblock printmaking. She has written one novel, a sometimes funny (she hopes) piece of fiction, which sits abandoned in colorful three-ring binders printed out for the four selected readers outside her writing group, waiting for her to pick it up again. The second “book,” a collection of nonfiction vignettes on divorce, is stuffed in a canvas bag she got for free from an Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference she attended years ago. It used to be her yoga bag. The third, most recent work, are her final months of writing group eight pages, personal essays on pregnancy, and short pieces written in Brown Bag on parenthood and the wacky adventures of her son. She loves Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Barbara Kingsolver and avocados. Kelli emcees DimeStories. She is also the Executive Director of San Diego Writers, Ink.