I had reason to search for paper. I went looking for clean, lined sheets. In my room, there stands a bookcase filled from the top down with materials related to my life as a writer. The top shelf holds my collection of self-help books, words of wisdom for growing my creative mind and maturing my writerly process. The middle holds the journals I filled with poetry beginning at age six. Then there are foreign language books–German, Arabic and Spanish, because they stimulate my desire to learn more. To continue growing past the point of what one language allows. Those are followed by books on open-hearted parenting, wisdom on how to not shut down. Finally, finally, there is a stack of partially filled notebooks, all spiral-bound. In them are beginnings and middles and endings, and between these handwritten passages are pages where nothing is inked. They are pages where I held my breath, rejected a thought, grew distracted, or found a new direction and turned sharply away.

I tore pages from the between spaces and gave them a new purpose. Currently, they hold the financial story of Goddess and Consort‘s purchases, samples, gifts and sales. I have made my shop’s beginnings and laid the plans for its tomorrows. Now, I am pulled firmly back into yesterdays and the words that came from the life I lived before I embraced the person I am. Another in-between place. Another path to follow, and I am ready for a journey.

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Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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