I’ve been back from Majuro for three weeks, and it is only now that I feel settled, with my feet firmly planted in routine and familiarity. It was a difficult transition. In those first days home, I couldn’t decide whether I was glad to be here or if I wanted to turn around and return to the island.
I missed Molly. I missed the children. I missed the incessant warmth and humidity. But Easthampton, Massachusetts, was so clean and lovely. And I had ample hot and cold running water in a home that felt like a castle.
My return flight arrived at Bradley on a Thursday about noon. Once my boyfriend had shuttled me to my doorstep, I unpacked and then met back up with him to hike Mt. Tom. I couldn’t wait to look down on my city and truly feel the pull of home. We had dinner with my housemate Craig and my daughter Sally and grandson Eli, and I unveiled the gifts I’d brought home for each of them. Then, I slept for fourteen hours.
In the days that followed, I would alternately weep with relief over the intimacy I had in my world—while running on the bike path, for instance, or walking through the aisles of Big E’s—but then I would also weep while looking at photos of my time away. The shore, the sun, Molly. It was all behind me now, and I knew it would continue to fade in my memory.
Molly will be home in June, so what stands the test of time as the one pervasive quality I miss most is the lifestyle I had in my thirty days in Majuro. I miss being on island time, when I could take a half hour to walk to the grocery store for eggs, milk and bread. I could walk the beach for an hour and then go kayaking. I could read for an entire afternoon—fitting in a nap here and there—and I could work on a manuscript uninterrupted by email or the ring of a phone for an entire day. I had the time to blog and time to be creative.
Here, I am back in the struggle of making time, finding time, running out of time. This is why I haven’t posted a blog since I’ve been back. Tasks like getting a snow tire replaced or figuring out why the contacts no longer appear on my iPhone are taking precedence over rest and relaxation. In Majuro, people don’t have cars to fix or cellphones to maintain. That’s because, right, people have very little to call their own. People also do not have goals, ambitions, to-do lists, paychecks.
While I have easily, and very happily, gotten reacquainted with the business of running a business, I have not figured out how to fit in time for creative writing while maintaining time for a workout, a walk with the dog and professional development, too.
I am a practical person, though, and I’ve been writing creatively on my own for over 20 years, so I know that if the projects I have in my heart are going to get completed, I need to make time. This is why last Saturday afternoon, I found myself with my friend Judy Kelliher in front of a flickering fire, writing.
I started the day on my new project, which is fleshing out the blogs I wrote while in Majuro with the hope of turning them into a memoir. And I’ll spend the afternoon editing the love story I have been working on for three years.
Judy is writing a book about her brother Bobby’s experiences in the Vietnam War, and she, too, is struggling with time management. (Stay tuned, and you’ll hear from her how she is making it work.)
I hope to have at least one of my two manuscripts ready for the design phase by fall. (Dare I say summer?)
There, I’ve said it. That’s my new goal. My new adventure. Getting another book out in 2016—two if I’m super disciplined.
Judy and I will write again together next week and in spring, we will go away for a weekend to work on our manuscripts. Also, in mid-March, I intend to join a writing group that meets every Wednesday afternoon.
Completing these works will be more difficult than traveling across the world, but when we publish, it will feel like much more of an accomplishment.