And Now a Purple Life

I’ve been quiet lately.  Have you noticed?  Since the birthday marking the start of my Purple Years, as I shall call them, I’ve been especially inward.  Thoughtful.  Within my innards, I’ve shuddered and clanked and reeled and pondered about what it might mean to enter one’s Purple Years.

As it turns out, it’s really not much different from the day before I suddenly became an ancient Purple woman.

Perhaps there’s some extra cautiousness in my conduct (I’m supposed to stay off ladders now) … some spitting in the wind  (I climbed a ladder yesterday just because I’m not supposed to).  Certainly, there’s been a lot of wondering when all that wisdom I’m now supposed to contain is going kick in.  Within this ancient vessel of a body I suddenly inhabit, I’m finding it hard to pry loose any threads of what might be considered “wisdom.”  The best I could muster was getting an osteoporosis bone scan.

I have good bones.

During all this quiet thinking, I remembered an afternoon a few years ago when I dropped in at a rally at the State Capitol.  A group of Chinese drummers were on stage and I was pulled in by the sheer wildness of the drumming.  In the far back corner, I noticed a woman — an older woman, maybe in her 70s, although it was hard to tell from the way she appeared.  She danced and whirled and beat away at a drum so large, it nearly swallowed her up.  I couldn’t take my eyes from her.  In spite of her obvious age, her lined face, her gray hair … she glowed!  She beat that drum with her entire body.  Her feet came off the ground with every stroke.

In that moment, I loved her as I’ve loved no one else.

With nothing but a giant drum and a stick, that tiny woman beat out a path for every other woman to follow.  Her body became the word and the word was … “Joy!”

She was what I shall become — a woman immersed in her craft, sharing her life and her passion to anyone who happens by, beating her drum for sheer pleasure.  There was not a whisper of apology anywhere for the grand noise she made.  She flung her entire body at that drum …  BOOM!  BOOM!  BOOM! … and she was magnificent.

So, if I’ve been quiet for a number of days, it’s only because I’ve been making plans to build my drum, to whittle my stick, to walk onto my stage, to make my own grand sounds.


Of course, one drum is lonely, but a stage filled with all sorts and manners of drums, beating like noisy hearts, is glorious.  It is life, this drumming together of bodies and thoughts and souls until a story is formed and told.

Yesterday, I was asked if I could have a particular manuscript ready by this weekend to present to someone “in the biz.”  I’m months from completion, but I need to have it ready in four days!  Like a fool, I said yes.   Rather than being wise and cautious, I’m going to spend the next four days with a stick in my hand, beating on a giant story-drum … with joy and reverence and total spit-in-the-wind foolishness.  In the end, I’ll have a completed book … or I won’t.  That doesn’t matter.

It’s simply about the Joy!  The unmitigated, crazy, wild, stand-on-a-stage-and-beat-a-drum joy of doing what I love and doing it as loudly as I possibly can.  I’ll have a ready story or not … but in the meantime, I’ll be the little woman pounding a stick at her keyboard ……


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