In one of her final pieces of correspondence, before she became too ill to write, our friend wrote this:

I give up. It’s too late for me. I have been at this writing thing for two decades and have found minimal success. I don’t have the energy (the verve!) to continue. All that pushing toward a goal has sunk me. I tried, and failed. 
While we disagree about her perceived failure—much of what she wrote touched us deeply—we cannot deny that lack of commercial success dampened her spirit at times. Still, she continued to write. And for that we are grateful.

A handwritten dedication and inscription in the journal reflected the opening sequence of the biopic Sylvia written by John Brownlow: she dreamed herself “a tree,” but by pushing herself to be successful in three different domains—in journalism, as a creative writer, as a mother—she succeeded only in spreading her talent too thin for any one of them. In the end, she saw her “leaves turn brown and blow away/until the tree is absolutely bare.”

We miss our friend, but when we read these words that she wrote to us, for us, about us, it is as if she were right here with us, sitting across the kitchen table, consoling us, admonishing us, sharing with us a story to make her point.

The Girls

Opportunities arrive unexpectedly, but they do show up


So, what was I saying???? Something about the shock of being hit, an unexpected—indeed shocking—event.

It's been close to a year and I am still hesitant whenever I am stopped at a red traffic light and it turns green, especially when I am first in line. Sure, I was blind-sided and that was part of the emotional toll, I understand that, but you've been through something far more unexpectedly tragic.

I wonder then how can you be expected to have been feeling anything by a loss of control. We all lose trust from time to time. It's when we don't regain trust that our problems worsen.

Identifying issues is a big part, no? Now that you've answered that question, you can ask: How can I change? Sometime, asking for help is the first step. At least, it is for me.

One thing I've learned this past year is that the harder I try to control things, the harder it is to control things.

When I gave up control, some good things happened. As you know, I quit my job. Without first securing a job, I quit my permanent gig (something prospective employers do not appreciate). My resignation was overdue; I hadn't been happy (an understatement) in my job for some time. And the job itself, as well as the indecision about leaving it, was dragging me down. I was far more negative (than usual) and the negativity was showing up in interviews. Chronic physical pain from accident wasn't helping matters.

So, I quit my job and trusted that the universe would provide one for me. It did. And it did so in a surprising way. I was rehired by a former manager at the same company on a six-month contract at a better rate than what I'd been earning as a full-time, permanent employee. My work schedule is now flexible as well. And the work is interesting; I'm learning a new skill. All that and I still leave the house at the same time in the morning and pull my car into the same parking spot at the office. Overall, the outcome was better than whatever I could have planned.

From this, I learned also that I can't ask to have it the way I want it—just for the end result. I required a job to pay the bills, so I asked Who needs my expertise, my skills? Whose career can I help by working for them? When I turned the question around that's when the job opportunities came to me. I turned down the others for this job.

I have found that it worked recently with writing, too. I asked who I could help with my writing and I met a terrific editor, two writers who needed some guidance with their writing projects, and the president of a writers' group who needed an extra set of hands to manage a website. All these things, as unexpected as they were in the form the opportunities arrived, helped move my writing career forward, even in some small way.

Where was I? I've been interrupted by coworkers several times as am writing this at my employer's office, so I lost my train of thought. Sorry.

Keep me updated. I am happy for you to have come to a break-through moment.

Chasing away the blues


Lorelei said the exact thing. Thanks for the feedback. I desperately needed some encouragement. Yes, I am feeling better about things. Somehow it all sorts itself out. Yet, I always seem to be surprised that it does.

How are things with you? Have you started that new project yet? What sort of installation it it?