Stories itching to be told

Today I started writing an essay in response to a call for submissions on “The Best Decision You Ever Made.”

Was it homing in on the clarinet as my instrument of choice in the third grade? Learning Italian in high school as a means to get to Rome in college? Moving to Washington, D.C., to slip the grip of a poisoned relationship? Was it going to Park Bench Pub on Lincoln’s birthday in 2005 to watch Duke play Maryland in college basketball? Or the impulsive email I sent later that night to the man with whom I’d talked for hours at that dive bar about baseball, Chicago and the proper dressings for hot dogs? Was it marrying that man four years later?

Nope, nope, nope. All good decisions, these. The best decision I’ve made, though, was the one that man I married and I made three years ago while on vacation in Daytona Beach, Fla., to try to start a family by becoming foster parents. It led us through doors of possibility into realms of experience I won’t even begin to try to explain now. I’ll save that attempt for the essay.

On the flip side, another call for submissions is asking for essays on “Mistakes.” I could write about that poisoned relationship from which I fled to D.C. and the toxins I was responsible for pumping into it. I could write about the desperate decision I made to go to Europe with that dude for three months after graduate school instead of braving the solo jaunt. I could write about quitting creative writing class my senior year in college partly out of fear but also to go part-time as a student, pick up a dozen more hours of work at the mail center and save boatloads in tuition in exchange for deferring my dream of finding a way to be paid to write creative stories. Or I could just write about the big, fat, life-threatening mistake I made when I once tried to ski down the Matterhorn without having ever before strapped skis to my feet.

But maybe I’ll save that story for another publication, which is calling for submissions on “The Mountain” … Whatever I decide to do, one thing’s certain: new writing’s a-brewing.

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