When I Stop My Momentum

“In the center of our speed, in the core of our forward movement, we are often confused and lonely. That is why we have turned so full-heartedly to the memoir form. We have an intuition it will save us. Writing is the act of reaching across the abyss of isolation to share and reflect. It’s not a diet to become skinny, but a relaxation into the fat of our lives. Often, without realizing it, we are on a quest, a search for meaning. What does our time on this earth add up to?”

–Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend From Far Away

When I stop my momentum…



  1. Jean West says

    I am not an overt memoirist, but I love sharing a story. I have been fortunate to live a life filled with frequent travel and home relocations, exposure to a rich variety of experiences, and close interaction with thousands of people. There is a great deal of “fat” in my life into which I can delve. Ultimately, every story I write is autobiographical, for even if the characters are not modeled after me, they are the product of the people I have met or observed, read about, or seen in the media. I have a vast number of settings in my memory bank and even more at my fingertips, because I am an historian and can mine the past. But, in the stillness, when I stop my momentum, I let my mind act on all the stimuli like a prism acts upon light, separating out character bits and setting details like colors, before my mind’s eye recombines them into the characters and environments I use in my writing. That ‘adding up’ inherently reflects how I make sense of my time on this earth.

  2. Tempered Ashes says

    When I stop my momentum…I become free
    you see, I’ve had a lot of momentum my whole life–from “this” to “that” to the other–and boy do I know how to “make up” thisses and thats and the others! after all, you stop, you die right?
    I guess after all this time, I realize that my momentum–while it has served me well in a lot of ways, is quite useless if all I keep using it for is to try to “get things,” i.e. “get” straight As, “get” the job, “get” the career, get the goal, get get get…
    what a funny word: “Get”
    perhaps I need to try to stop “getting” so much and just live–i’ll pass on the guidebook once i figure her out

    • says

      For me momentum provides freedom, joy, excitement—and escape. When I am in its grip, I don’t have to notice the undercurrents beneath the surface, the warning signs, the red flags. I also miss a heck of a lot of the beauty when I am mono-focused. Though there is beauty in concentration also.

  3. Cristina says

    When I stop my momentum, I see a parade of victims. Slivers of bone and bits of flesh like hairless baby mice flung at a bathroom wall; a body on the asphalt below the overpass, lying still, completely normal except that the back of his head is flat; an elderly man innocently sitting on the toilet, mottled purple, ten days missed by no one; a child lying on the sidewalk with arm outstretched for the green and blue ball on the other side of the Buick, whose driver convulses with the desire to rewind reality. All of the images, necessarily suppressed in the moment of occurrence, scroll along inside my eyelids the moment they close. I learn to keep my eyes open, to avoid the urge, no matter how strong, to lie down, to sit quietly, to rest, because there is no rest. Only a parade of victims, human beings whose lives are reduced in my mind to the moment of departure.

    • Paula Hill says

      The fog seaped into my synapses, numbing the vividness of your words….until this morning….awakened by the Moon’s fullness shining through the window onto my bed… before her sinking into the West, and before his light appeared from the East…Under the warmness of my blankets, an awareness seeped in of deep indebtedness to those who clean up the gory mess of other’s nightmares, to be left with memories of horrors many are blessed without….unbalanced solitude, the trajedies of a moment’s wrong turn, a shattered peacefulness, a lifetime left to integrate the loneliness of guilt, despair… I’m going out to water my garden before the heat sets in that this day promises to bring…in deeper gratitude…

      • Cristina says

        Thank you, Paula. I appreciate your words, your awareness and your deepened gratitude. The inner world of those who “clean up the gory messes of others nightmares” is not generally well recognized or understood by those buffered from having to embrace those aspects of life. To be seen, and to be understood are such basic human needs…

  4. Paula Hill says

    —-‘tis embracement
    within the eye of a hurricane…
    A stillness
    where the “many” swirls around
    in relentless, soundless
    —-‘tis untouched by the blades of the whirlybird,
    placed in the center of it’s spin..
    —-‘tis life on earth…
    cycling through the cosmos
    upside down,
    rightside up,
    held by the insensate pull of gravity…
    clinging by a string
    before soaring into eternity,
    the destiny of time.
    —-‘tis traveling through the elements,
    the changing seasons of waters and aridity,
    the dance into dormancy.
    The tough shell encases a sleeping seed,
    tucked in a shivering blanket…
    the plan made for it,
    innate and smart…
    no worries, all trust….
    As I step out of the twirl….into the quiet depths of the eye….
    stories screech to a sharp stop…
    Intention, action, plans close in on each other,
    squelching desires…
    For the moment… infinity resides behind the veil, I can sense
    in the birds frolic….
    in the dahlias bloom….
    in the SunMoon dance….
    in the breath of the sea….
    Time out of the whirling…solitude…..riding the wind under a sail…
    hiking a trail loaded by bare necessities….
    out of the norm of the alarm clock….
    The Moon brings sleep, the Sun awakens….
    The owl swoops and “whos”; the Osprey hunts and calls….
    A shaman’s mind surfaces, alert to the trance…
    a frequency
    foreign to routine,
    awake to a homecoming…
    So, that’s what beckons!….oh….uhm….
    ……as it dissipates into a vapor of memory……………………………….

  5. Bobbie Anne says

    I was in an accident and my momentum had stopped. Some people didn’t think I would get better. I agreed with them at the beginning. Then I decided to get well. I was a teacher and a caregiver, but now it was time I took care of myself.

    I tried different healing modalities including accupuncture,meditation and prayer. I went to medical doctors and had physical therapy and chiropractic as well. I also began to journal again. I write poems, and today my momentum has been “kick started”.

    I went to a local nursing home this afternoon, and I read some of my poetry. I tell little stories before my poems, and I picked ones about Autumn, Halloween, my cat (she is ten today), Curious George, priorities and one about the little leather moccasins my father made for me when I was a child. I also donated my Poet’s Market book. My father-in-law had gone to that nursing home some time before, and I wished they had let poets like me come in then. We read our poems and sang “God Bless America” at the end. It reminded me that I can cheer other people up by reading my poems. I feel so good, I’m going to go back when they schedule this again and read some more of my poetry.

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