Certain verbs exert a lot of pull on me. Yearning is one. You’d think that once we got older, we’d stop yearning. But we don’t.

I am like a teenage girl, yearning for that sense of excitement, of bliss, of discovery, of adventure. Back then it was something I sought in boys, in romance, in the surge of sex.

But now I yearn for that elusive sense still. I will throw on a blanket and sit in the dark on my porch, staring at the full moon as if somehow I can find a connection, a touch, a YES, a path.

I will go out. There may be nothing, but still I go.

Tell me about your yearning.

19 responses to “Yearning

  1. (You probably were posting this at the same time I was writing the following.)

    I had the story.

    I had my memory, fallible as it is.

    I had my notes, scrawled in a journal while riding over rough roads.

    I had my online research.

    I had the desire to tell the story
    I had the title.

    What I didn’t have was a clue as to how to tell it. I didn’t even have a false start, something that usually occurs when my muse is off on a lark of her own.

    Initially, I thought to write just one story, but soon realized I had too much material for that. Finally, I painted myself into a corner. I wrote Part One. At the end of that blog post, I left a teaser for Part Two
    But what to do about Part Two? I wanted to do it justice and simply stating various facts would be like writing a dry report for school.

    I sat at the laptop yesterday for several hours, dawdling, hesitating, opening and closing Word, playing Spider Solitaire, an activity where a lot of my inspirations rise. A local resident called to invite me to pizza night and Monday Night Football. I begged off. “I’m in the middle of something,” I said. Actually, I was in my self-inflicted corner, obliged to come up with Part Two.

    I can “feel” the need to write. It’s more physical than mental, though it certainly doesn’t omit the mental. It’s an urge, a yearning, a must do. It’s an emptiness that requires filling. Nothing will satisfy it, nothing will abate the need until the words are there.

    In the early afternoon, I decided to take my usual afternoon walk in the warm sunshine. I pocketed my camera, and, almost as a way to give truth to “in the middle of something,” folded a piece of yellow ruled paper and, along with a pen, added those to the pocket.

    Head down, waiting for thoughts while trying not to think about the story, I walked downhill towards the dock. Geri the cat followed me, occasionally running a few feet ahead, then stopping and rolling onto her back in front of me. She hesitated when I reached the ramp to the dock. The part that was in the shade was covered with frost, but eventually she caught up with me.

    I thought about sitting in the sun for a while to see if anything would happen. As soon as I had that thought, I remembered an online conversation about “best opening lines.” Immediately, “Mama died today” came to me. That is the first line in Albert Camus’s “The Stranger.”

    That’s when the muse descended on me like a ton of dictionaries. I pulled out the paper and pen, made sure the camera was safe from falling into the sea, and sat on the low beam that runs along the side of the dock. Geri climbed up beside me and I had to make note of that lest I bump her into the water. A black crow objected to her presence and landed on the bow rail of the boat behind me, squawking its displeasure.
    I wrote and wrote and wrote, covering the four squares of the folded yellow paper and making notes on the back. Eventually, feeling the compulsion to sit before a monitor and type on the keyboard, I headed back to the house. As I turned the corner where the fresh bear scat was in the middle of the trail, inspiration struck again.

    Excited, delirious, exuberantly alive, I almost ran for the computer. For this writer, there is nothing like a visit from the muse.

  2. When I was young, I yearned to not feel alone. I longed for someone to love and, in turn, feel loved. Not like the love of a family member, that I had in droves. I sought that connection with a woman. I wanted to know what love really was. Time and experience gone by, I believe I have fulfilled that yearning, in a sense. I will leave that complicated explanation in the recesses of my private mind for the time being. Now I’m 36 years old, struggling with finances as most people are and wondering if this is it. If this is all my life is. My wife tells me that I have the patience of a god. Perhaps that patience gave me a contentment to be okay with life as it was for a time. Now … I yearn to feel alive. Not just content with the life that I’ve made for myself. I want to feel elation instead of worry. I long to laugh again and truly find my inner smile. I yearn for an overthrowing of the negativity that shrinks my heart and long for that overflowing of positive emotions, real and not forced by sheer will of faith, that can make my soul soar free.

    • It’s there, Carl. Inside you. Just let it free to fly. You’re a writer and therefore a step ahead. Consider the negative things as research. As someone famous once said, “It isn’t the destination. It’s the journey.” BTW–I’ve been where you are now. And worse. Now, at 70, I have never been happier nor have I ever had so much fun.

      • Thank you. Sometimes the journey makes us weary. Words can be powerful way stations to help us continue on. I appreciate it.

    • Carl, I agree with Gully (don’t tell her, it will give her the big head), that you need to use the negative as research. Start at the start and put down the steps that landed you where you are (as with finances, in my case, a car I never should have bought), and along the way a solution my just spring up.

  3. BTW, the story that came of my description above: The China Journals, Dead Ends, Part Two.

  4. I yearn to be at peace, not hurrying all the time. I rush from one thing to another. When I sense I have nothing more to hurry to, I panic.

    I believe that I need to prioritize my life, to sort out what is truly important and what is not, to let the important things lead me and the insignificant fall behind.

    I need to win the wrestling match I fight with a monster who constantly whispers in my ear, “You’re not doing enough. You’re not good enough. You’re not…you’re not…you’re not…

    I yearn to stop yearning and to start simply living.


    I haven’t been writing regularly. Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting this. After reading Anne’s prompt, this is what came to mind. Since fear can be paralyzing, I move forward and post my comment.

    • Shaddy,
      Are you going to do NaNoMo this year?

      I hope you will keep the monster at bay. I think most of us know him well. I keep reminding myself, “Yes yes yes yes yes. It’s okay.”

  5. You got it out there, Shaddy. Now you’ve cut it down to size. Keep writing. You might discover the why of it.

  6. I yearn the live the life I lived as a child, no worries, no dread, no responsibilities, only concerned about who I’d get in trouble with that day. I yearn to write, to paint, to work on my old car, but let other tasks get in the way. As Ann, I too sit on my patio as the world around goes to sleep and yearn that tomorrow will be better than today, at least until the skunk shows up. I once yearned for love, and it found me. I yearned for excitement, it also found me, but now I yearn for the quietness of the dawn, the coolness of the early morning, watching the world awake. I yearn for the pillow on my bed, something that happens every this time every night, yearn fulfilled.

  7. I think we all yearn for something throughout life. Even when one yearning is fulfilled, another yearning takes its place. Even if we were undying or immortal, there would always be a yearning. In that case, life lived to the fullest over the course of several hundred years may leave us with a yearning for mortality or death. To yearn is as human as the attaining of knowledge. It is unending until our minds and hearts are simply no longer capable of pressing on. When the last sleep takes hold and sweeps away the worry and the fear leaving only the rest of eternity, that is when we shall stop yearning for we can grow no more and attain no higher glory.

  8. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” Gramma always said.

    Gramma’s idea of luxury was having enough food to eat. After growing up on a farm stubbornly battling an austere father, she married and moved with her husband, also a farmer, to Kansas. About ten years later, the Dust Bowl disaster put an end to their dreams. Gramma quickly became a realist. From the time I could understand any message she had to convey (other than don’t pull the dog’s tail or you’ll get walloped with the wooden spoon), I knew better than to wish for anything. Gramma didn’t hold with wasting time wishing, dreaming and yearning. It simply wasn’t worth the effort.

    “Get on about the business of living,” she said.

    If I heard Gramma’s thoughts on wishes a hundred times, Mom heard them a thousand. Her mantra became something on the order of ‘stop wishing and start doing’. My grandparents moved their little family to Chicago during the Depression in hopes of finding work. When she graduated Lucy Flower High School, my mother was awarded a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. But she’d also been offered a full-time position as mimeograph operator. Practicality ruled. She accepted the job and let go of the opportunity to pursue her ‘frivolous’ dreams.

    Although practical by demand, my mother was tenacious. By the time I was born, she’d formulated a plan. She took Gramma’s teaching and applied it with a twist. Instead of yearning for her dream, she focused on how to get it. And what she yearned for was her own catering business. She’d turned her artistic talents toward food preparation, specializing in the kinds of things you sometimes see on television food shows these days.

    Mom worked hard to realize her own goals, so my grandmother became my primary influence. Her no-nonsense pragmatism was designed to keep me from developing any yearnings. Life was simple. You had what you had. As long as you had clothes (the word fashion does not apply here), a warm place to sleep at night and food on the table, you had everything you needed. If I wanted something other than that, I had to apply Mom’s creativity and find a way to get it.

    So, with that background, I became a dreaming pragmatist. (Is that possible or is that an oxymoron?) I don’t yearn for my childhood. I can’t get it back. Would I change any of the choices I’ve made in my life? Certainly. But do I dwell on them and yearn to go back so I could make different choices? No. Because I can’t. And after all, those experiences made me into the person I am today. They’ve also become fodder for my writing and have helped me to achieve my dream of having my work published!

    • This is a keeper! Good family history. Almost a manifesto. Good to hear from you.

      • Barbara Burris

        Thanks again for the ‘jump start’, Ann. I’ve been too consumed by my painting lately and my writing muse hasn’t been able to get my attention. This prompt really helped.

  9. I used to yearn for the grace-of-mind to accept that I’m who and what I am and that’s just how it is. But I’m over it now.

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