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The pebbles in my pocket

I read an interview today with Elizabeth Strout, the author of Olive Kitteridge. She said many inspiring things, but the part that has stayed with me is about a poor boy in her school growing up who was insulted by the teacher because of his poverty. The boy's neck turned red after the unkind words and all I have thought about all day is the boy, now man, and who he now was. Did he find happiness? Is he having a good life?

See, I've always felt too much. I hear a sad story, I see something hurtful happen, I hear about something tragic and I put them in my pocket and take them home with me.

Like pebbles, I carry these stories around. A few of my own, many from the people in my life, hundreds and thousands from strangers.

I wonder if maybe that is where all these faces are coming from. My pockets needing room so that I can move freer. Make space for more stories.

A recent comment here on my blog wrote of my melancholy voice. I laughed when I read it. All of my unhappiness in my life was in trying to be a happy person. I read the books and listened to the podcasts and tried on all the clothes. But that's not who I am. And all that struggle to fit myself into a life that wasn't my own just created more stress.

I am quite melancholy. I am also often happy. And wow can I feel beauty. Sometimes I think it's what makes me so alive; Melancholia can be so powerfully moving. I listen to the wind, chase birds to watch them fly. A sunset can move me to tears and all I want to do is create and create and create.

I wish I could tell all the strangers that I never met, who were hurt or scared or felt loss, that their stories have sat at my side in my pocket for years and that now I am putting them into paint to turn them into something beautiful.


Kelly Stevens
Kelly Stevens
Nov 28, 2021

Beautiful post.


I don’t think the pebbles weigh us down, though. I think they’re heavy enough to remind us they’re there, that they have substance. When we carry too many, we need to let them go by sharing them and replenishing ourselves for another batch.

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