Cry Me a River


I did something last night that I haven’t done in a long time.  I cried myself to sleep.  Yes, the old proverbial crying yourself to sleep.  And — surprise of surprises — it felt so wonderful.  In fact, if I’d remembered just how good it did feel, I’d have let myself go and done it sooner.


What did I cry about?  You name it, I cried about it.


I think it all started with Duncan Yo-Yo’s.  I stumbled on an advertisement for a vintage reproduction of the very same wooden Duncan Yo-Yo my father bought for my sister, brother and I when we were kids.  We couldn’t make the stupid thing do tricks, but my father could.  Oh, I remember watching him and thinking how talented he was.  I lost my dear father this January.  So that sweet memory made me cry. 


I cried about my daughter.  How much I love her.  How much I love my son-in-law.  And yet how I keep goofing up and making them want to hit me with a baseball bat and knock me unconscious.  I just can’t seem to get it right.  That made me cry.


I cried — or rather the writer in me cried when I fell into a grand funk — not the railroad — feeling I can’t write worth a flip.  Some days I feel like Margaret Mitchell, my writing seems so good to me.  Heck, no.  Some days I feel better than Margaret Mitchell.  On those days, I’m the undiscovered Pulitzer Prize winner.  Just a matter of being discovered.  But then.  But THEN — I get that smashing realization that I really just might not be that good.  In fact, a friend who is talented lent his hand at helping to critique and comment on my work-in-progress.  Oh, the feeling of realizing that your story might be a good idea, but someone with much greater talent ought to be writing it.  Someone with a greater talent could do your own story more justice.  He assured me that I indeed could write it; in fact, it could only be done by the person whose dream it was.  He was right, and I believe him.  But by the time I grow to that level of talent, I will be too feeble to type or write anymore.   That was a discouraging thought.  And that made me cry.


I cried because I think I may have lost a friend.  Oh, it’s just an internet friend.  But friends are friends to me, whether I can see their faces or not.  Everybody knows by now that internet friends turn out sometimes to be really, really good buddies; and, just like regular buddies, it smarts when their time in your life has run its course.  It smarts a lot.  Just as much as if they were right there in person.  But I feel they are put in our paths for a reason, and I try to find the good in that.  I think this friend opened up for me the panoramic splendor of what I can be as a writer.  If that’s all I was supposed to reap from the friendship, then I’ll take that and run with it.  And be grateful.  But I’ll still cry about it.


Then I cried for the friends I do have.  The friends whose shoulders reach for miles and miles when they’re needed.  Who send sweets through the mail.  Who read your story, no matter how many times you change it.  Who boost you up by promising with you that you’ll go on a joint book signing tour.  Because you’ll be just that successful.  Who care about you because you’re you.  Even if some of them are only internet, too, their mailboxes are perpetually open for you.  No matter how much you cry.  That made cry. 


I cried because while I was crying, my cat Buddy just reclined next to me, watching, quietly letting me just cry.  Gotta love him for his acceptance of me.  In a goofy, sentimental way, that made me cry.  I had no way to let Buddy know I cried about him.  Maybe he’ll know somehow. 


Then, somehow, it all came full circle and I realized something.  I was too stoic to cry as much as I should have when my father passed away this year.  I fought crying like the plague.  But when that Duncan Yo-Yo came across my path this week, I knew.  I knew.  It was time.  And wrapped up in a package of every poignant thing in my life, I knew it really was all about Daddy. 


For the New Year, I’m trying to eat healthier.  So I probably won’t succumb to Blue Bell Rocky Road to comfort myself.  I don’t even think I’ll try to write.  I think I’ll cry again.  I liked it.  It felt good.  What is the song?  “Cry Me a River”?  Well, I think I’ll do that. 



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9 responses to “Cry Me a River

  1. Jen

    This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your emotions with it. I have felt this same way many times…some little thing sets you off crying and you don’t know why, then eventually realize what you are really crying about (and it’s not the Hallmark commercial!) Crying can be so healing sometimes.

  2. I’ve cried me a river many times and felt afterwards cleansed, purged, calm, even though what i cried about didn’t go away- the tension was relieved somewhat.

  3. Hey girl, don’t get the keyboard wet, but keep writing! You are too good to stop. Do we have to come down there and kick your tail to keep you at the keyboard? We do have duct tape.

    Well written and I can feel the sadness. But you have two people in Iowa who are always here for you.

  4. Amy

    My shoulder is always available. Great blog, and if need be you know where to find me.

  5. Dawn

    I loved this, Carol. Great blog.

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve hit a real rough spot in my WIP and I’ve been thinking about just chucking the whole thing. Maybe I am really not good enough to write it. Maybe the poet “friend” who told me, “If you really any good at writing you would have found a real publisher and not had to resort to self-publishing” was right about my lack of talent. Maybe those who say I am a good writer are just too nice to tell me the truth. I am sorry you are facing some of the same doubts. At the same time, it is nice to know that I am not the only writer who feels this way!

  7. Hey Carol–

    Lovely piece, my friend. It is a perfect mixture of pathos and humor–so much better than either on its own! I’m sorry you’ve hit a rough patch, but I know the only way through it is through it, and crying and writing are great ways through it. (And no calories!)

    Have you ever read any Annie Lamott? She’s a Christian writer, but also a little lefty (as you might guess, or I couldn’t tolerate her!), and she writes about the craziness and pain of life with a humor that I bet you’d dig.

    She’s got a couple of essay collections, maybe try Plan B: Thoughts on Faith, and especially her writing book: Bird By Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life. She will make you laugh, give you some decent tips, and she will make you feel better about your struggles with your WIP, I guarantee it. That’s a lot of value for like $12, no?

    See you on the loop!

  8. Nichole Osborn

    God gave us tears to cleanse us and to release tension and stress so let it all out! I’m dealing with similar thoughts: ie) am I good enough? who would want to read anything I write. So don’t get too discouraged you are not alone! :0)

  9. Thanks for your heartfelt post! I think many of us have felt that way. Tears can be cleansing and healing. So can prayer. Turning to God and receiving love and healing can bring great joy and peace into our lives!

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