Opening Act –

 

Buried treasure.

 

Yellowed pages stowed away in a dusty box somewhere in the attic. My first “story”, given as a gift to my grandmother many years ago, after a fall down the stairs sent her to the hospital. Within the aging pages, there are little crayon drawings of a bird, a tree, and a heart. Most of the sentences don’t really flow together, but the message is undeniable.

 

A love letter, from a grandson, to his matriarch. From a boy who loved making pancakes with his grandmother. Some days we’d mix in fresh slices of bananas. Or strawberries. Or blueberries. And she’d always mix in little life lessons.

 

How to show proper manners. Why we say please and thank you. The importance of listening before we speak.

 

I cherished my grandmother, and wanted her to get better. So I wrote her a story. My first ever piece of writing. My opening act. I colored some pictures. I told her I loved her. And I asked my first-grade classmates to sign it.

 

As a young student, I didn’t think of writing as a “school-thing”, but as a way to sort out my deepest feelings. A way to wrestle with difficult questions, and articulate my raw emotions with those around me. A way to tell grandma how I felt.

 

Writing was a vehicle to find, craft, and share my voice.

 

My grandma saved that story the rest of her days. She enjoyed it, not because it was a profound piece of literary wonder, but because it had a simple, yet simultaneously profound, message. A message of kindness. A message of hope. A message of unconditional love.

 

After she passed, the story was returned to me. I marvel as I fumble through the pages of scribbles, mixed-up letters, and emergent drawings. I wonder how something so basic, could have been so treasured.

 

And I see that my opening act wasn’t special because of it’s structure. It wasn’t treasured because of it’s vocabulary, or it’s sentence fluency. Grandma cherished the message. Grandma cherished my voice.

 

A life lesson she taught me, that still rings true today.

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16 thoughts on “Opening Act –

  1. Indeed ‘Writing was a vehicle to find, craft, and share my voice’. We all need an inspiration for our opening act. Love the technique you use in it.

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  2. Ok, I’m already crying at Slice 1! What a beautiful story. “After she passed, the story was returned to me.” I wonder if all our stories are returned to us in some way.

    I DMed you just now, but I think I’ll share it here, too. I borrowed a technique of yours in my own Slice today – your use of setting off one sentences by themselves for impact. I’ve admired that in your blog posts and decided to try it out. 😉

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  3. Greg, you wrote from your heart and you had someone to appreciate and cherish your writing. It’s such an important silent message sent to kids that encourage developing their talents. Your words were then, and continue to be, authentic and thoughtful. Thank you for sharing this!

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  4. What a beautiful slice. So loving and tender. After my mother died, I found a card I had made for her when I was 5 or 6 – she still had it 50 years later. I know I hold on to my own children’s writings and cards. Treasured indeed. You definitely have a profound voice – I will enjoy the month reading your slices.

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  5. What an amazing opening act! Thank you for sharing your story! You are right it is about the message and the voice. It speaks to who we are and connects the narratives that create our lives.

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  6. Writing for real is writing with your heart to someone that matters. They hear your voice and cherish it. Lucky you to have that lesson taught so lovingly. I agree with Leigh Anne on all counts. Welcome to slicing.

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  7. If this is your opening act, I can’t wait to read the scenes between now and the closing act. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person and I can feel your love for her from your words. I have said before – your voice is brilliant and I am so glad you are participating in the challenge. I know I will learn so much about writing from you along the way!

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