Your Shoes

I’m taking an online course, Stunt Writing for Personal Growth. As I responded on an introductory survey, I’m taking the course because:

1. I’m writing a memoir but have not studied memoir writing with an instructor before; am interested in participating in more structured conversation about memoir.
2. I am a research librarian so the topic of MOOCs and other online learning is ubiquitous; I’m interested in experiencing a MOOC from the student perspective.
3. To challenge myself with unfamiliar, potentially uncomfortable, subjects and styles of writing – to explore voice.

There will be multiple learning modules over five weeks, and I have absolutely no idea what to expect. It’s the first day, and I’ve almost bailed numerous times already. But I want to stick with it; I want to give it a shot. I want to honor my skepticism but nevertheless participate in a way that is genuine, curious, and open-minded. Again, we’ll see. Here’s my first assignment. A brief response to the prompt Shoes, Meals, Coats, and Handbags.

Your Shoes

They were the only shoes of yours I could fit into when you died, and even then I had to fasten them on tight. Your prized Alps: a web of blue fabric straps crisscrossing the forefoot, encircling the ankle, and holding the heel in place. The size long ago wore off. The outline of a foot – toes, an arch, the gentle arc of a heel – is imprinted on the shoe bed; mine or yours?

I wore them summers, at the lake, at camp, in the creek, on walking treks in the woods. Mom called them my “water shoes.” Now they are in the bottom of my closet, I don’t wear them anymore. They are clutter, taking up space, valuable real estate in already cramped quarters, as well as psychic room, emotional space. The sandals raise questions, did you know that was possible? Shoes inspiring wonder? As time has passed the questions have changed, from where did you go, where are you now, to why do I keep these old dirty shoes, tired and ragged and worn? 

Why can’t I get rid of your shoes?

They carry such weight; the dust of years.

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6 Responses to Your Shoes

  1. rebecca johns says:

    I never know what to expect when I read these—–I often laugh out loud, sometimes smile with such pride in knowing the writer, sometimes I’m not sure if “I really got it”. This one made me shed a tear – but not out of sadness really; just because it touched my heart.

    • randasfans says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. I didn’t really know where I was going to go with my response to that prompt, and then that’s what I ended up with – I’m glad you enjoyed it. I really appreciate your comment.

  2. Keri Cole says:

    I’m so glad and jealous! I wish I were in this course with you.

    • randasfans says:

      Well, technically, you could be! It’s open to anyone 🙂 What would *really* be great is if I could join your weekly pages project, something we could do in person together rather than virtually.

  3. Kim says:

    Awesome. Loved it all. I’d say you’re off to a good start.

    And have been meaning to write you all day (keep getting distracted) about the book Tiny Beautiful Things. Hope you have read it, but if not, it’s wonderful.

    I’m designing a hybrid grammar class for advanced non-native speakers … I love developing it … will see how implementation goes.

    • randasfans says:

      Thank you, Kimpossible – and thanks for the book suggestion. I haven’t read it; haven’t even heard of it, but will look into it. It may be awhile; the backlog! I’m currently suffering (marvelously) from my penchant to begin reading as many books as possible, without ever finishing them. So once I’ve managed to knock the list down a bit, I’ll check this out. (btw I saw that you gave five stars to The Book Thief; I started listening to it this week.)

      On that last note, I’m learning more about online teaching and learning, too; maybe we should chat professionally (hahahahaha) at some point.

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