From a work-in-progress:
When I held up the raw walls of my kitchen, when I cradled my baby in the night in a chilly tent, wrapping him in a blanket my mother had crocheted, when I pushed a wheelbarrow full of sand to be mixed with cement and water to become the footings of our house, I was using my body in its strength and purpose, the width of my shoulders an entablature of my life to come. Before that, I was the large young woman among slender ones; before that, a girl who didn’t fit in with her peers and who read novels and poetry to stay alive in all her senses. After I held up the walls, I brushed my hands on my pants and went on to the next chore. I forgot for a time what I was capable of. The writing I loved and which had sustained my heart and mind in my 20s left me. It no longer found the fertile ground in my imagination. Like seeds that need fire to germinate, it stayed dormant, waiting, waiting, as the years passed. Then I was myself the fire. Essays, novels, novellas, a memoir, and more, more, the words unspooling like the threads I was also using to stitch quilts. I burned with intention, with energy.