Happy Halloween!

At the beginning of the year, my good friend Jennifer reminded me that forward movement, without acknowledging the distance we’ve come and obstacles we’ve overcome, is to miss out on the bigger picture: the daily decisions and accomplishments that get you where you are. Thus, I started Marking the Miles at the end of every month, disclosing my own personal thoughts behind the daily writing.

October has been, undoubtedly, difficult. My Grandma passed away suddenly and unexpectedly around the middle of the month.

While my mid-October writings like Grasshopper in the Wind and The Imp Called Hindsight can stand on their own, if you picture a writer who’s had the rug yanked out from under her as you read them, they read very differently. Hurry Up and Wait is a big metaphor about waiting for answers when you’re not in control of the situation. And The Bottom Fell Out was just a quick moment in time, but a necessary one. I was asked to “pick up the butter” by another grieving family member who was leaving earlier than the rest of us for the funeral. I expected to find a stick of butter, or even an unwrapped stick that had fallen and needed some cleaning up. Instead, what I found made me laugh so hard I went to get my phone to take the picture before cleaning it up. In Upside Down Kingdom, there’s a scene that takes place weeks after September 11 when Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Emmys and, as a country, we laughed. The laughter felt odd at first, as if we were doing something wrong to be laughing in the wake of grief, but then a strange thing happened: the more the laughter came the more we started to heal. The bottom fell out when my Grandma died as we lost the glue that held our family together, to the literal bottom falling out the butter bag, to laughing in midst of grief and feeling its grip loosen.

In the wake of all of this, I considered stopping the daily writing for a little while out of a sense of propriety. But I found myself with an abundance of things to say. So I did what I do: I wrote. Writing doesn’t make it easier; it just gives me a place to go. And, I don’t mind telling you, some of the things I wrote were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And then I re-read them and realized they were crap. Hard to follow, a little bit crazy, utter crap (including a poem about things overheard at a funeral parlor entitled, “To Chicken or Not to Chicken”). I didn’t post those writings, but man, I have a lot of them.

October was a month full of looking back on better times and wondering if you knew how good you had it when you had it. And now, here’s to November, to a month full of promise because we march in bringing all we have and knowing the difference.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing.