The girl who lived on the lake

May 14, 2010

The last time I drove by
it hurt
to think back on her,
on me
not so long ago
but so long ago

I came that way again
turning my eyes to the lake
to see the changes
the new houses
the remodels
the spaces where
cabins once stood

In came a hundred
of a twenty-something
party girl
who lived on the great wide and
green lake

What would she ask me?
I thought
What would she want to know
about who she would become,
who she would be becoming?

You’ll be okay
I’d tell her,
then. now.
but you are taking a terribly
long way
to okay.
It’s starting now
and you know
but you don’t know

You will have a new life
while you’re still both you
and a wife and a mom
and you will feel like both
and carry too much
of the now with you

The pit of your stomach
may never forget this
version of yourself,
by yourself,
and not yourself
by he and them
and her and him

But your heart
will start to heal
long from now,
the now
on the lake,
and you will see
in the blue eyes
of boys that came from you
and him
that you are okay

Even good.
And the pit of your stomach
will make its twinges
a little less
as you drive around the lake
as yourself now,
who would not be she
without the girl who lived on the lake.

{freely written as an experiment to see what I would write in five minutes or less after a drive around the lake I lived on for a year many moons ago, a drive filled with emotion. It’s quite a rough draft, so thank you for taking the time to attempt making sense of it. Happy Friday.}

This post is a part of Five for Ten at Momalom.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

MidnightCafe May 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

This is totally beautiful! I love your "rough draft." Your writing brings out so many feelings and images all at once. I love it! And I think most of us can relate to how it feels to go somewhere that's part of our past and feel all the old feelings and all the old thoughts and images pouring back.


Justine May 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm

That is QUITE the rough draft. I think rough drafts are often the most honest part of our voice. It's the editorializing that gets in the way of the truth.

Great poem.

Glad this girl now is OK. Even good. :)


Hyacynth May 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Freewrite are sometimes the best writing we do because it's very honest and real and passionate. I love your line about taking quite a long path to get to OK. Because I can relate completely, maybe even a little more than I care to admit.
Thanks for sharing even though you were nervous about your (un)rough draft.


Kelly May 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I love the raw honesty of this poem. Those memories are so central to who we are, yet there's so much we'd — or, at least, I'd — do differently if given half the chance.

But that's the point, isn't it? Rather than wish you could put your slightly derailed train back on the tracks, we have to learn to appreciate and respect the rocky path our trains wound up on.


Meredith May 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Seriously–what IS it with all the amazing poets I'm finding via Five for Ten? The poems I've read through FfT are amazing, including and especially this one. And I don't even LIKE poetry! Beautiful and haunting. Love it.


Kristen @ Motherese May 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Oh, lady, this makes my heart ache, this line especially:

"but you are taking a terribly
long way
to okay."

Thank you for sharing this raw and real chapter on your journey to okay. I feel privileged to be along for the ride.



tippytoe foxtrot May 14, 2010 at 3:43 pm

wonderful. just plain wonderful.


Michele May 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I always love it when so many people are drawn to one line (whether prose or poems). Taking a terribly long time to okay. That sums up a lot of us. The paths we take may be long and hard, but they eventually get us where we need to go.


Corinne May 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Freewriting is such an incredible exercise.
(and of course, tears streaming down… good grief this happens way to frequently these days!!!)
Such lovely and raw writing, Heather.


Launa May 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I agree with Motherese… best line by far in the poem: "but you are taking a terribly long way to OK." Gorgeous. I love the idea of your two selves in conversation.


Kazzy May 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I must say that I love first draft poetry more than second or third draft. Raw and real.

It is tough and cathartic at the same time to remember our old selves. I do it quite a lot in my own mind.


Kimberly May 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

You are such a poet. Lovely.


~beautyandjoy~ May 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm

If that is your rough draft you will be making money off the final.

Heartbreaking and so true and beautiful.


Wendi@Every Day Miracles May 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Your rough drafts far outshine many a refined published writing. LOVE this.


Colleen May 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm



Boy Crazy May 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm

i love freewrites. unpolished, from the heart. or the heart-gut, as a girl i know likes to call it.

xo thank you for sharing you with us.



Charlotte May 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Beautifully put. Funny how some times are hard to think about, but are so important to shaping who we become. Like Kristen the line that most stood out to me was:

"but you are taking a terribly
long way
to okay"

Great job.


Amy Whitley May 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I love free writes like this. Thus part: a terribly long way to ok, took my breath away.


kirsten May 14, 2010 at 10:10 pm

so do I have to be the one that says Go Back! Rewrite! Draft not good enough! ??

kidding of course. Beautiful. But can I just say that forgiveness – even of oneself & one's muddling attempts at wholeness – is a beautiful thing, full of Grace?


KRauk May 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Lovely poem Heather….I remember that girl well. I am excited to spend time getting to now the new version this summer. I hope you will bring your guys to another lake full of memories this summer….
All the best,


Anto May 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Wonderful memories! felt as if being drowned in your story. The picturesqueness just stood before. Well written poem.


Amber May 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm

This is quite a "rough draft," Heather.

A poem that so many of us can relate to.

Happy Friday.


~j. May 15, 2010 at 4:17 am

I love this.


nosmallthing May 15, 2010 at 7:46 am

Rough draft me arse. :) Wow. If I could write like that in five minutes, I'd have a LOT LLLLOOOOOTTTTT more posts. :)

Awesome. Really really awesome.


Lee Vandeman May 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

Awesome five minutes or less. Wow. Sometimes I think my best writing happens in a short period of time because I know I am feeling it.

Such a terribly long way to okay….that is interesting. Sometimes I hear you and all I can think is "Wow, she is way too hard on herself."

Is that wrong to think that?

I guess we each have our own version of what okay is.



alita May 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

I can relate.

I loved this!

Gonna have to check out five for ten.


suzicate May 15, 2010 at 10:20 am

Stunning…no editing needed on this piece.


Privilege of Parenting May 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

This is fantastic! The immediacy and truth almost demand that you not change a word—I'm just grateful to Momalom for allowing me to make yet another wonderful discovery in this world of kindred spirits and rising consciousness.

I look forward to reading more, past posts and future.



natalie May 15, 2010 at 11:47 am

Substitute "house on a lake" for "house on a hill hidden by trees on the other side of a ravine and also a lot of college apartments in bad parts of town" and this could have been meant for me.

This could be the words to an anthem for any and all wild child turned mama.


terry May 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

What an amazing poem. Perfect. I understood a bit about you in a moment. A single moment.

And the Lake. I felt that lake–you will have the lake forever


Jen May 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I'm not sure what to say to this other than I feel like you were writing about me.

Amazing writing.


Bina May 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I'm sure I'm not the only one to say: Was this about me????

Hauntingly gorgeous…you struck my heart with it.


Shawna May 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Please don't change this "rough draft" one bit. I love it's raw glimpse into your thoughts. You are incredibly gifted: with your writing, with your pictures. Amazing.


Allison @ Alli 'n Son May 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

There's just something raw, honest and perfect about this rough draft. So much emotion, so many memories, so much of YOU in it. It's perfect.


Allison @ Alli 'n Son May 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

There's just something raw, honest and perfect about this rough draft. So much emotion, so many memories, so much of YOU in it. It's perfect.


Allison @ Alli 'n Son May 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

There's just something raw, honest and perfect about this rough draft. So much emotion, so many memories, so much of YOU in it. It's perfect.


Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

You inspired me. This is what I came up with in five minutes…

Milk, peanut butter, soap, moisterizer.

You're good! Wrap your head around that … it will make the trip to okay well, for lack of a better word, okay!

Truly beautiful and inspirational!


BigLittleWolf May 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

This is marvelous.

Five minutes or less? I'm dumbstruck!


Ali May 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

This is my first time here, and I think I may be spending a few naptimes here in the future reading your past posts. I love the little blurb about you on the sidebar. "Wrogger" = funny.

This post is beautiful.


Kelly @ Love Well May 15, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Five minutes?!? Girl, you are a true wogger. This is magical.


anymommy May 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I think often of what I would say to younger mes if I could talk to her just for a second. Sometimes, I want to yell, but mostly I think I'd be really gentle, just like this.


Rudri May 16, 2010 at 1:28 am

Rough Draft. Wow.

Lovely post. Just lovely.


TKW May 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

Note to self: Heather can do more in five minutes than I can do in sixty.



Kathy May 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Rough draft? Really? This is amazing and so poignant. Love this line "carry too much of the now with you


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