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Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish

Our writing practices, like any creative endeavor, ebb and flow. Tapping the keys or scratching a pencil across lined paper, stopping, and writing some more is a little like the inhale and exhale of breath. Like that pause just before the foamy edge of a wave that just rolled up the beach rolls back into the ocean.

Writing is like breathing – and the flow of waves – precisely because it is alive.

I’m trying to hold onto this thought as I wait for the first chapters of my memoir in layout from my publisher. It’s that time between manuscript and book.

There’s really no choice here. I know the exhale is just around the corner as launching and promoting a book is a full-bodied, big breathed undertaking.

My pages have left my desktop and now live in the hands of a publishing midwife whom I trust to help me transform it into a book. Those words I labored so long over are becoming something else, something permanent, over which I have some control.

It’s a pause in the process. Almost a year into a global pandemic, like you, I’m weary of what has felt like an overly long pause from the regular rhythms of our lives.

But pauses do hold our attention. Consider the pause in a well-told story, a comedian’s monologue or the white breaks on a page. They give the listener or the reader a chance to take in what came before and get ready for what’s to come.

It puts us completely in the present tense. Amplifying the moment. Highlighting and dramatizing it, insisting that we see it and take notice.

I’m working on embracing this moment of pause, this time of in between because I have some control over that.

Because when the book is out in the world, it will have it’s own life –  exhaling – and I’m aware that I won’t have any control on how it is inhaled by others.

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Photo by Ellen Blum Barish

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