The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tranquility Taverna Entry

Tranquility Taverna (Journal #3) arrived in Albuquerque and Eileen sends us this beautiful entry:

July 16, 2005

“Suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

A D.J. on Virgin Radio U.K. announced that she was going to play just about the “greatest song ever”. That is a bold statement but a few seconds later “Stairway to Heaven” came lilting through the speakers of my computer. Every time I hear “Stairway to Heaven” -every single solitary tie, I’m a senior in high school again, dancing safe in the arms of John, my high school sweetheart, on a crowded dance floor in a church hall in Citrus Heights, California. I didn’t need a stairway to heaven. I was in heaven.

I graduated from high school 28 years ago. I have a 25 year old son, Samir and a 19 year old daughter, Bridey. I raised both of them on my own. My son attended Bella Vista High in Citrus Heights. He even had the same guidance counselor that I had. I sang in Madrigals and my son did, as well. He works in corporate America these days, is an active blogger/writer and takes part in the struggle for social justice.

I had hopes for my daughter being a cheerleader and wearing a uniform with her name on a patch that said “Bridey”. Bridey wears a uniform with her name on it – a mechanic’s uniform. She recently remodeled a beautiful three bedroom home in Albuquerque. Bridey enjoys gardening, traveling, scuba diving, art and is an accomplished cook (in spite of the fact that boiling water is challenging for me).

I had the challenges of living with a profoundly ill mother. My father had passed away when I was very young. Because I was given and had taken on many of the responsibilities of being a mother to a mother until she passed away, as well as being a single parent, and maintaining demanding work in the corporate arena, there was never a lot of time or energy that I could devote to discovering myself.

When I was growing up I wrote stories based on “Star Trek” characters. I was fascinated by “Star Trek” because it happened in another universe, far removed form the one where my mother was curled up in the other room crying as she so often would. I could create a safe place to visit in my stories, with my words. I developed a love of writing and won a writing contest in the 6th grade. I was an avid reader and an enthusiastic author.

After living with a major depression and a number of health problems that I endured my entire adult life, thanks to the inspiration of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, I found my way back to my creativity – a creativity that was originally sapped away by a mother who gave me so much and taught me about music, art and writing, who wanted me to be utterly successful, but at the same time was determined to undermine anything that I undertook in life because she was suffering from schizophrenia.

J.R.R. Tolkien saved my life.

Now I’m learning how to write again. I’m writing fanfiction, one of the true loves of my life. I’m learning how to draw again. I’m learning how to be the Eileen that I was in high school – sharing, writing and drawing. I’m learning what I need to know to be the writer that I want to be the one I dreamt I could be when I was a little girl.

In a world that is increasingly covered in darkness – one that is in no way as simple as it was when I danced in John’s arms to “Stairway to Heaven”, I’m re-dedicating my life to sharing what joy that I can with the world through my creative efforts.

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