Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

The thing that had to be written…

on 8 January, 2017

This is the post that has to be written, before anything else can be posted or written.

For 2 years, I have barely written anything here. I have started many posts, and they linger in my drafts folder. I visit them regularly, add a few sentences, tinker with the words. Some of those posts, I think, are very good, or will be very good, with a little more tinkering. Some of them are beautiful. Some of them are sad. But before you can read any of them, I have to write this one. Some of you have reached out, asking where I have gone, if I am writing elsewhere…

The answer is simple and infinitely complex: 2 years ago, for 2 reasons, I lost my voice, here.

This is why:

1: I wrote about That Kid, which went viral in (what I have since learned is) the purest, most genuine way of going viral. I had no promotion strategy, no plan, no intention. I wrote a thing, and millions of people read it. Millions. Many, multiple millions. If we include the translations, probably tens of millions. Amazing, yes. A thrill-ride, exciting, amazing, often terrifying. I am terribly, terribly proud of that post, and I stand behind my message. But also: it stripped away my quasi-anonymity while also opening the door to deeply disturbing comments, hate mail, threats. How do you (I) follow that? How do I go back to silly throw-away posts about my dog? How do I live up to the expectation that created?

2: Three weeks after That Kid, just as things were settling down, The Most Terrible Thing happened. For this, it is no longer the finding of these words, but rather the saying of them, that paralyzes me: My friend was murdered. That changed everything. Every. Thing. Loss changes everything. Grief changes everything. Murder changes loss and grief in ways I never wanted to know. There were times when I wrote hard and true and raw, in the deep of night, about what murder does to grief, to love, to the mind and the heart and the spirit. Those words, though, did not, do not, belong here (yet?) because they do not only belong to me, but also to people I love very much, and never, NEVER, do I want my healing to cause them pain. And my friend’s life matters so very very much more than her death.

These 2 things, coming one after the other, not equal or related, but somehow, inextricably connected, have left me so, so, different. I am still who I was, in many ways. I love my dog and my house (I have a new house! One that belongs to ME!), my family and friends, my books, my city, my work, but also…

I am more tender-hearted, more empathetic, more sensitive. I cry more easily, at my own pain and the pain of others.

I am both more and less patient, tolerant, generous.

I am more fearful and also more confident.

My view of the world is clearer and also more infinitely complicated.

I am more connected to, and grateful for, my job and school community, but also more able to put my work in context as one part of my life and world.

I am quieter and more vocal.

I am so much more grateful for the good in my life, the comforts and friends and resources and opportunities, and also so excruciatingly aware of the fragility of it all.

I am different. My voice is different. The things I want to write about are different, and so is the way I want to write. I might disappoint you. I might delight you.

I WANT to write again, but this is the post that had to be written, before anything else can be posted or written.


You might stay, or you might leave.

I hope you’ll stay.

Happy New Year



7 Responses to “The thing that had to be written…”

  1. Frances Vachon says:

    Thank you Amy.
    For your words.
    For sharing your journey.
    I hope you’ll be able to return.
    Your light has been missed.

  2. Amy says:

    You have been very missed here. And I’m so glad you’re back.

  3. SuziB says:

    Thank you for returning, Amy. Thank you for telling us why the absence. Thank you for sharing some of your sorrows. I hope there are enough of us on here who truly value your comments and your beautiful spirit, enough to help nullify those hurtful commenters and those who don’t need to comment at all. May our small voices sing louder than their mean ones. We are a reason why you came back to share, not them. I hope as you resume your sharing posts, some semblance of a new normality may settle in your changed world and you blossom in your new post. I hope it helps you as you continue on your journey where healing the scars is a daily addition, but ceases to be a chore. I hope we help you, as you have obviously helped us. We may also have had our own sufferings in the interim, but let’s foster that nurturing and caring community here together. Again, I thank you. Welcome back. S

  4. Megan says:

    Love you, Amy. I think of you often and of everyone that was affected by her death and some days my heart is so heavy with what happened, but then I also look at all the good that has happened since then and it helps lift me up. Her memory and goodness live on in so many ways! Love and light to you this New Year. I always love your posts.

  5. faige says:

    Beautiful heart wrenching post Amy. The juxtaposition of something good (your viral post till a point of frightening comments) and the sorrow after your friend’s death/murder must have been overwhelmingly. I’m glad you gave yourself time to heal in the way you needed to. But your voice as in the post on That Kid is a guiding one for many teachers. Thank you for sharing where you’ve been. I wish you inner peace, love and joy in this coming year.

  6. Andrea K says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. When I read That Kid 2 years ago it made me cry. For weeks. In the best possible way. I am a mom to That Kid. And it’s lonely. And it feels hopeless. And in 2 years we have come so far, and still have far to go. And you have me more strength. And I felt a little less isolated. And if you did that for me, I imagine you did it for countless others. And what you did matters. A lot. A lifetime of a lot.

    I am so sorry about your lost friend. Nobody should have to feel that kind of pain. And at the hand of another human being. I am so sorry.

    For what it’s worth, you are a beautiful writer and we are all blessed and fortunate to read whatever you write. Just write. When you want. Where you want. About what you want to write about. Thank you.

  7. Libbie says:

    Thank-you for sharing your most difficult experiences. I truly hope you have healed from all of it. I had always enjoyed your writing before any of this and I hope you are able to find a way to come back to it. You have a voice that many of us can learn from. I look forward to hearing more of it! Cheers!

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