You might not know, before this blog, before this open and very public proclamation of life with Esmé, there was another blog. A seed, perhaps, of this thing, The Cute Syndrome…but it was entirely focused inward into the space between Esmé and me. I began writing letters to Esmé when I was pregnant with her on my computer and when she was born I continued doing so, recording the letters in almost complete privacy on a blog.

In the middle of the intense fear that began in the minutes after she was born and that continued to haunt every moment of our lives in the early days, I turned fully toward an old love: the love of words…the love of watching something so intangible and internal become something real in the world around me–all structure and sound and letters and emotion.

I fell in love with language in high school…with the words:

              And indeed there will be time
              To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

I was hooked.

In all honesty I remember that moment the way I imagine some people remember their first kiss.

…a few stanzas in, an electrical moment, when I thought “OH! Wow…” As the English language cracked open and showed me that I wanted so badly to grab ahold of it and let out all every thought I ever had in that finality of pen on paper…which is the kind of playful finality that promises both fixedness and infinite possibility: I can always have what I wrote. And I can always write more.

To this day I am still every bit as excited about writing…

You see, I have never been particularly funny or witty on command. And while I talk a lot (oh god, do I ever…it’s terribly embarrassing), I’m not good at speaking clearly and precisely in any given moment…which has the effect of making me say more and more and more until I find myself backed into some kind of demented overly-honest corner. I find peace in writing quietly…and the rhythm of my fingers on a keyboard where I can type and delete, restructure and revise…and become a person who sees the world differently as I go.

Anyway…last night I glanced back through old posts from this early private blog. It was bizarrely touching to read the words of that previous version of myself, a version who was still clinging to the hope that things will sort themselves out. And I found myself feeling so fortunate to have had that space, and now this one, to navigate this journey with words.

Now that my dissertation is done and I am able to rededicate myself to non-academic writing, I am not sure where else the words will lead.

…but I am so excited to find out.