Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Handmade Things

I've been thinking and writing about my Ohio River experience, but I've been writing about adolescence, too. It seems that for the last several years, I've focused a great deal on the social and psychological upheaval of adolescence. In a present draft of a story, I have written: "So I hadn't seen Tucker for a week and was sullen about it. But Tucker would follow me to the healing; I'd made sure of that. He'd follow me anywhere because we'd not yet gone all the way."

I have a wicker basket on my hall dresser, filled with my childhood toys. This handmade doll was given to me by my girlfriend, Barbara. We were in the eighth grade when we decided to make each other a doll. This doll she made for me looks just like she did when first made, all vivid yellow and red. The tunic is fastened by little snaps in the back. The details of the face and green hair are heartbreakingly poignant. The doll smiles. Her button eyes are wide with wonder. Within two years, Barbara and I started dating, and we were both married within four.

A lot of my stories seem to grow out of the consciousness from which this doll was made, the borderland between childhood and womanhood. Adolescence is scary and full of change, upheaval. There's something dark and frightening about sex, about losing yourself to another person.

But adolescence also embodies the potential for love. It's all darkness or light when you're that age. Either/or. Looking back on that time with the capability of seeing all the complexities is exciting.


beths front porch said...

I have a wicker basket in my living room with some of my favorite cards and letters from friends and family. I thought about toys from my childhood... don't have any...a few books, though. Wonder if that captures my sense of adolescence...as in, I'd rather throw mine away...and forget about it.

Erin said...

I remember feeling left behind during adolescence. Jr. high friends were exploring things that frightened me, and this put a distance between us. Theresa, you've inspired me to think more about this time in my life. I haven't done so in a while.

I can't wait to read some of the stories you're working on!

dreaminglily said...

Dark. Definitely was a very dark part of my life. One I'd rather not revisit.

Rejection. Loss. Hurt. All things I'd like to forget and move past.

Can't live my life anchored in what has already happened.

Entry made me think.


Anonymous said...

The doll is charming, you can sense the love that went into it, and that girlish sharing of secrets that marks adolescence. She could easily grace the cover of a novel, don't you think? Cheers, from Teagrapple.

Theresa Williams said...

Beth, what were your toys like? Mechanical? Dolls? Soft toys? Hard, plastic toys? My favorite toys were soft, stuffed animals, especially. Although my precious oddie was a little plastic toy. I much preferred animal toys to people toys (baby dolls). But I do love the little rag doll my friend Barbara made me.

Theresa Williams said...

Teagrapple, yes, she WOULD look great on the front of a book! Erin and Lily, I hope you will explore the pains of adolescent. It's a rich mine. Painful, yes, but full of answers.

PS, Anyone, Am I the only grown woman who prominently displays her toys???

Erin said...


I, too, have always loved stuffed animals. I a stuffed bear, bunny, and elephant displayed in my bedroom. (And I still sleep with my bear.) Many of my childhood toys still live at my parent's house, though.

So ... you're not the only one!

Erin :-)

V said...

............."So I hadn't seen Tucker for a week and was sullen about it. But Tucker would follow me to the healing; I'd made sure of that. He'd follow me anywhere because we'd not yet gone all the way."........
Speaking from the other side, you`ve captured truth here! LOL!



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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