The Polished Paragraph

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Anything of value is going to cost…

A couple of weeks ago, I used a quote by Claire Cook:

I spent time doing lots of things. My becoming a novelist had to do with letting things go.

And them I took a week off from the blog. It was school vacation, and I had things to do. And some thinking too.

Letting things go… (Graphic by groningen at

In a month I turn 50. It’s a number that can give pause even if you don’t have serious issues with aging. I’m actually okay with the aging and dying thing (let’s be honest, dying is what everyone means when they talk about aging) as I’m in decent heath, do yoga, have plenty of friends, feel useful what with running the food pantry, and have a couple of great passions in writing and making rugs.

That being said, there comes a time when you realize that you have to pare down, get closer to your essentials. At 50, I really have to start making choices about how I’d like to live the next half. For instance, though I had lots of potential as a calligrapher once – I even designed and created my own wedding invitations – that ship sailed when I had a kid and put the pens down. I love to cook, but complicated, 85-step recipes are out now. Give me simple, basic, whole food. Nothing that takes hours in the kitchen worrying that a sauce might break.

We’re getting ready to make a move to New Mexico in a year. A cross-country jaunt like that is really expensive when you have no corporate relocation package paying your way. It requires some serious trimming of household items like the fine crystal you barely used – easy dispossession – to clothing that you might fit next year when you lose those 5 pounds to books that you’ve been holding onto since college. Those books, the postcard collection you amassed in grade school, old love letters, they aren’t so easy to discard. They made you you.

New Mexico will bring us new opportunities and memories, if we only make room for them in our home and in our hearts and souls. But new prospects can show themselves at any time. As High on Hooking, my rug hooking business, I’ve been invited to participate in a great art show come August. It’ll require a lot of work ensuring that I have enough inventory by then, but, if I want that business to go anywhere – including New Mexico – I have to start hooking my little fingers to the bone. And doing some marketing-type chores.

I’m only one person, one aging person, apparently, who’s becoming loathe to split her herself into too many personalities thus becoming Sybil. Writing this blog is becoming a bit of a liability for me right now. Between it and other responsibilities, I have little time to write fiction. And you know this makes me cranky. My writing group too, when I’m not ready with a story submission on time.

Ruminating these past weeks, I’ve set my priorities: rugs and writing just for me. This means letting go of the blog for a bit. I’ll still be around if you need some editing and proofreading. And the Polished Paragraph’s Facebook page is definitely up and running. Check there for interesting writing tidbits and advice. But something has to give or I’ll never have the strength to make the next 50 years.

I have no shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work. I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say that it will cost you something. Anything of value is going to cost you something.
Toni Cade Bambara


Author: Laura S

Laura Salamy is a published author. Her essays and short stories have appeared in print and online. As the owner of The Polished Paragraph, she edits and proofreads other writers of all kinds. She is currently an assistant editor for the lit journal Fifth Wednesday, and she blogs on the fourth of every month for get born magazine. In her past life, Laura spent many years in the environmental, health and safety industry. She also worked for a non-profit completing grant applications and doing other "stuff." In her spare time, Laura creates colorful and less-than-traditional hooked rugs and mats. Many are "up-cycled" from old clothes, funky fabrics, and notions. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a teenager (oh no!), and a very silly dogs.


  1. It’s strange.

    When my parents turned 50, it seemed they were finally starting to relax and enjoy life. They had no debts and, for them, retirement was just a few short years away. It seemed they had all the time in the world.

    I turned 50 last year, I still have a mortgage. I have constant anxiety concerning finances (among other things), even though I am not a spendthrift nor do I live beyond my means. Retirement is little more than a pipe dream. Time, for me, is a precious commodity.

    Even so, I strive to put a small part of my life aside for myself. Basically, this is reading and writing. Much of my stress and anxiety disappears when I am writing. I feel in touch with who and what I really am. Yes, my life is busy. I have responsibilities that I have chosen to accept. And I know that comes first. But when I can, I am either holding a book or at the keyboard.

    I understand you needing to let the blog go, Laura. I will miss seeing it in my inbox, but you have to concentrate on what is the best for you. The best of luck to you at the art show in August!

    Take care,

  2. Thanks, Paul. As if you won’t hear from me. You’ll hear more than you ever wanted now that you’ve joined the group. :) See you Tuesday!

  3. Happy Trails Laura! I’m sorry that you won’t be blogging about your relocation like I did; I was looking forward to your search. And I did want to say to you that I can never “like” your posts because I am not on Facebook. (I hated it – felt like the uncool kid in high school again…) I think your hooking will do well in SF. I’m not sure I saw any hooking there at all. And you’ll be so inspired by the colors. It was nice to do the taxes this year and whine and complain about all the $$$ we lost on our IL house sale and be done with it! Hope you do better. We lost $$$ on our Franklin MA house as well… Take care!

  4. Oh, don’t worry, Deb. I’m sure I’ll find a new outlet to share that tale. Meeting with real estate agents now. Moving expenses make me shudder…

    Facebook does work well for things. And I share most of your blog posts, so you’re still making it on facebook!