Gimbling in the Wabe – Gimbling into the Sunset

by Sharon Browning

Back in November 2012, I wrote my very first Gimbling in the Wabe.

It was the brainchild of LitStack’s Editor-in-Chief, Tee Tate, and she told me that with this new weekly feature, I could write about anything I wanted, even if it had little to do with literature. I took her at her word, and although many of the essays did indeed have to do with literature (at least tangentially), many of them did not.

I wrote about the power of words, but also about my hatred of June bugs. I wrote about how sometimes an author’s own story is as compelling as those they craft, but I also wrote about how proud I was of my daughter’s struggle with Type 1 diabetes. I shared my frustrations with a lack of fictive imagination, handed out “best of” lists at the end years, and penned essays about the great “dog ear” debate, how a library saved my life, flash fiction, finding the perfect word, and my relationship with William Shakespeare. But I also wrote about baseball, and my trip to the USSR in 1989 (where I partied with Pink Floyd), about driving in a Minnesota winter, about juicy peaches (well, kinda sorta) and Hyundai commercials, and perfect moments. I didn’t write a Gimbling on January 20, 2017, but still, I believe, spoke volumes. I even had one Gimbling that was “written” by my dog, the Mighty Belle – it’s among my favorites. The Gimbling that got the most attention was a poem, about never having too many books. I gotta admit, I was kind of proud of that one.

For four and a half years, I wrote a Gimbling in the Wabe every Thursday for publication on Friday. Usually Thursday dawned and I had no idea what I was going to write about, or at most, only the inkling of an idea. Rarely did I work on a Gimbling for more than a day, and only once or twice did an idea simmer for over a week before coming to life. I’m not really a spontaneous person, so these little essays were leaps of faith for me – faith that I would be moved with an idea that I then could craft into something of value, usually in 1,500 words or so. And more often than not, that faith panned out.

Believe me, I realize how lucky I was to have the time to devote to such a satisfying endeavor. So many folks dream of being able to have the time to read, and write, and sit on their front porch drinking coffee on a lovely spring day with a library book in hand. I actually lived that dream for almost five years. But times, they keep changing whether we want them to or not.

Actually, I’m very excited to report that I’ve returned to the ranks of the gainfully employed, with a new job and a new employer, and lots of new challenges and loads of potential. But amongst all the wonderful things this new job promises, the reality is that I no longer have the time or energy to do justice to writing a weekly feature for a literary website, no matter how personally fulfilling it is. To walk away from Gimbling in the Wabe was a dreadfully hard decision to make, but once made, I knew it was the right one. So, after almost 200 essays, this will be my final Gimbling in the Wabe.

I want to thank those of you who would on occasion read my ramblings; the idea that you were out there listening to me was highly gratifying. But most of all, I want to thank Tee, for giving me the opportunity, and for always, always, being there in my corner, cheering me on. At a point in my life when I was probably at my lowest, she lifted me up and gave me purpose again. And it was glorious. I will ever be in her debt.

Theodore Geisel – otherwise known as the incomparable Dr. Seuss – once famously said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” As I look over the archives of what I’ve accomplished over the last four and a half years with these Gimblings, you better believe I’m smiling. It was worth every moment. And for a while there, a long while, I was living the dream! Ah, my, what’s not to love about that?

Thank you, all, for living it with me.

~ Sharon Browning

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