Letters by Deepa
Letters by Deepa
Letters by Deepa 02 | Listen to: Gold

Letters by Deepa 02 | Listen to: Gold

I’m so excited (and more than a little nervous) to send you the first audio episode of Letters by Deepa!

Gold was first published in the Winter 2021 issue of the Sky Island Journal.

Read the full essay (and more works of poetry, flash fiction and creative nonfiction) on the Sky Island Journal website. Or listen to me read it here.

When I wrote Gold…

… for Creative Nonfiction’s Flash Essay class, I loved experimenting with how to use the very, very short form (less than 1,000 words) to zero in on a moment in time with laser focus, then expand it both detail and meaning.

Pondering the ending, my teacher Jenna remarked, “The final sentence feels so sad and deflated.” Was that the feeling I wanted to leave readers with? Ending on either an “up” or “down” note were both emotionally valid, but it was entirely up to me.

I suppose a definitive happy ending is preferable—except the story doesn’t end when I’m sixteen. Far from it.

My relationship with my body is an ongoing story. It has unfolded through the insecurities of early adulthood and the tumult of pregnancy and childbirth, facing the reality of age, and coming to grips with the corona kilos of the past year. It is a story that changes as I do, with a shape that I have come to love.

Everything I have discovered about my body is what I now truly consider gold.

After I wrote Gold…

I wondered: whatever happened to my first love? After some Facebook sleuthing, I am happy to report that he is alive and well, married, the father of twins, a boy and a girl.

I wondered: did Mom ever realize what that moment meant? Likely not, and I don’t resent her for it. My mother is a product of her time and of the conversations that shaped her, as we all are. She never spoke to me unkindly or harshly; in fact, it is her kindness that gave her words such weight. She is the most generous and soft-hearted person I know, full of childlike trust in the innate goodness of people, which can be both remarkable and frustrating at times.

I realize that as a mother, I too am bound to say or do something that will affect my daughter in a way that I never intended. It’s a sobering thought. But my mother was just doing her best with what she had, and so will I.

Recording Gold

I had been toying with a podcast for a while. Two things stopped me: I never really got into podcasts myself (I can hear your gasps of horror) and this little thing called a global pandemic.

But I thought: wouldn’t it be nice if people had the option to listen to my writing, instead of reading it? I’m not organized enough to pull together a full-blown podcast, but surely I can slip an audio file into a newsletter—just like I used to enclose stickers, stationery and hair clips in the letters I mailed to my pen pals when I was a kid.

Very special thanks to Conor Vella, still life photographer and plastic artist by day, audio engineer and co-conspirator by night, without whom I never would have recorded this. (He’s already on me to do the next one.)

Thank you for listening (or reading)

Did you listen or read, or both? I would love to hear what you think.

Hit reply or write me at storiesbydeepa@gmail.com. Or if you like, write back with your answer to this question: 

Have you ever felt the way I did in Gold? What was that moment, and why did you feel that way?

Oh, and it’s Valentine’s Day. Spread the love around, but save some for yourself too.

See you in two weeks!

Gold image by Matt Seymour on Unsplash.

Letters by Deepa is a newsletter by Deepa Paul. Click here to subscribe.

Letters by Deepa
Letters by Deepa
Filipina-Indian writer Deepa Paul narrates personal essays on people, places, and moments that matter. Sometimes good friends show up to read, too.
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