Monday, June 18, 2007


This place terrifies me! It’s a place inside that fights back all the moments of not being seen, of not being supported or given any sort of appreciation – or maybe it was not enough; maybe this place inside forgot that it was appreciated and it was recognized – but sparsely so and only on occasion — not on a consistent and needed basis.

I guess I left home when I was ten years old. That was the summer I’d come to New York City for the very first time and when my aunt and uncle brought me back to Soldier Pond I cried when I saw my parents. I did not want to come back to them. When my aunt, who was my mother’s sister, and her husband were leaving to return to New York, I wanted to go back with them.

Both parents were surprised I guess; perhaps even shocked that I would feel that way. My mother wept. I guess they did not realize how invisible I felt with them.

How could they know that I’d had the time of my life in New York, not because of the museums and plays and the Bronx Zoo, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, but because my aunt and uncle, who had no children of their own, had played with me, had teased me, had included me in every conversation.

And I’d begun to feel like a somebody – like I was real and visible with likes and dislikes and thoughts of my own. And I could laugh and not worry once about being forgotten.



DeAnn Daigle was born and grew up in a small village in the very north of Maine on the border of Canada. Here she first discovered the beauty of nature, of music and poetry. Her seeking led her to enter religious life for eighteen years, and then led her to leave it. She lives now in the East Village of Manhattan and works on the twenty-ninth floor of a mid-Manhattan skyscraper where she keeps alive her dreams of writing, of singing, of beauty.

DISCOVERY by Alice Schuette

At last I have made it back to Woodstock -- to my writing workshop -- after too many years away. I sit in my favorite spot--a long, comfy bench nestled beneath a picture window and a low ceiling which blankets me with hanging plants, and delicate ornaments. I stare silently out the window, and can see the reflection of the flames which are burning in the white brick fireplace behind me. In reality, this flame warms writers pounding on keyboards, sinking their heads into notebooks. But through the window the flame appears bright and real, as if burning outside in the yard, in the center of a gathering of bare branches. At any moment it appears as though an enormous brush fire might ignite. But there is no brush fire, just a simple reflection of something that is not there. The branches lay bare and intact, longing for the sun of spring to at last peek through the clouds.

I relate to this imaginary image. I too appear whole and intact -- with the same body, face, and hands I’ve always had -- but the reflection of my life is burning wildly within -- igniting a new person and new spirit that somehow I can only feel and see. Even writing feels different -- somehow less freeing. I feel like I’m chipping away at stone. And like stone, I have hardened, and gained tremendous strength.

When my first daughter Grace was a newborn, I can remember sitting in the rocking chair across from her crib, and while watching her sleep -- her tiny chest doing a rhythmic dance to the beat of her heart -- I felt my love for her pain me. I thought to myself -- what will I do when she gets sick? She had yet to have even a sniffle, and the very thought of it frightened me to my core. But in time, I survived the colds, the stomach viruses, and even the bloody falls. With each sickness and injury I learned to tighten my gut in order to get through so I could take care of her. When she was nine months old, I took a weekend trip to my parents’ house in New Hampshire. Only a few hours after my arrival, Grace got a temperature of 104. Being away from home, I was forced to take her to the hospital. A blood test was ordered, and I had to hold Grace down so that little needle could prick her tiny vein. Grace began walking when she was ten months old, so at nine months she was flailing and fighting with all her might. But I tightened my gut, did what a mother has to do, and stuck it out. When it was over I felt I had just survived the worst moment ever. Grace was fine, just a fever. But my nerves were twisted and frayed. Little did I know this one event was just preparing me for what was ahead.

My second daughter, Rose, who is now two years old, gets her blood drawn every eight weeks. At one point, my husband Michael and I decided to take turns holding her down. Rose doesn’t fight and flail as much as Grace. Rose screams. From the very core of her soul -- she screams. She was just ten months old the first time I heard this scream. Again, I was at the hospital, but Rose wasn’t fine. The orthopedist was casting her leg. At the time we all thought her leg was broken from a fall off the bed. We later discovered her leg wasn’t broken at all, but instead infested with rheumatoid arthritis.

I held her tight during that casting session. Her gentle little body resting against my chest, my nose buried in the center of her scalp where she still carried that sweet, soft baby smell. And the entire time, Rose screamed that gut wrenching howl. I know now how utterly painful casting her arthritic leg must have been. The worst thing you can do to an arthritic joint is keep it still. So every time I hear that scream, I flash back to that moment of holding her tight while she was essentially being tortured.

Taking turns to get Rose’s blood drawn didn’t go over so well. The last time it was Michael’s turn he came out looking like a wounded child, his freckled face red and blotchy from the tears filling up his eyes. I knew then I had to step up to the plate, tighten that center of my gut, and do what has to be done.

And this is how it’s been for the past year. With all the medicines and doctor’s appointments, I somehow remain intact. The only time I falter -- when I begin to feel myself break -- is when I hear that scream. Only then does that imaginary flame ignite within, changing every bit of who I am. But on the outside, I look whole; I look like myself, just longing for the sun to peek from the clouds to shine some hope on my face.



Alice Schuette lived the dream of many teenagers, becoming a model while still in high school and traveling the world. It didn't take her long to realize that the world of glamour and glitz did not offer anything that she really wanted. She began to write and found Authentic Writing through a Village Voice ad. Later, she enrolled in an MA writing program. A loving marriage and two little daughters later, Alice lives in Connecticut where she writes about her life past and present and leads writing groups.