The Messy Process of Defining Self

1958.

1980.

1984.

1987.

Now.

Once I handed this list of years to a fellow writer whose job it was to introduce me to a crowd of strangers before I read a short story.

He dutifully read the dates, shook his head, looked into the expectant crowd and said, “I have no idea what that means, but here’s Catherine Keefe.”

When I composed that bio – a catalog of important years: my birth, marriage, children’s births – I fancied that reducing myself to numbers was highly creative. Perhaps it was. But it also produced a barrier of confusion between myself and my audience. I’ve never done it since.

What I have done, in my writing and my life, is skirt the fine edge of individuality and remaining mindful that we are all one.

This photo I took of myself one hectic morning (those are toothpaste spots on my skirt and yes I have two different boots on) reveal that sometimes walking two paths at once looks funny. Yet my heart remains firmly centered in the muddle.