The Constellations in Motion

In an acceptance form letter for an essay, an editor suggests reading that slim college handbook, Strunk and White. For a mini-refresher lesson, I click on the link, since it’s been many years since I opened my copy. (Do I still even possess a copy? I’m a little worried I may have jettisoned that in my move…)

Between useful directions like Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas, I read Writers will often find themselves steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.

Last night, my daughter and I stood outside in the cold, talking with a neighbor, looking up at the small white lights my daughters strung over our barn. The neighbor tells me about the man who last painted the barn before I bought this property, how painstakingly he prepped the clapboards and sealed each nailhole.

I lean against the cornerboard, thinking of all that hard work. Clouds have blown in, and the moon is obscured. Rain and more rain predicted for today.

Inside our house again, my daughter carries the cats up to her bed.

Fortunately, the act of composition, or creation, disciplines the mind; writing is one way to go about thinking, and the practice and habit of writing not only drain the mind but supply it, too.

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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