I have a troubled relationship with the word ENOUGH. Enough’s been attached to a lot of negative things for me (did you eat enough? Are you good/smart/talented enough? etc etc etc).
But writing Magicballoonbook aka THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON changed that. In Magicballoonbook, a character finds his own special meaning in Dayenu, the song sung in Passover about miracles God performed to help the Israelites escape Egypt. Dayenu means “It would have been enough” essentially. It would have been enough that God brought us out of Egypt, it would have been enough that God brought justice on the slave owners, it would have been enough if—if God had done any one of these things.
Don’t worry, this isn’t about to get SUPER religious.
I wrote that scene because for that character, it was important for him to recognize the Dayenu moments in his life, because it’s the only way he will eventually grapple with his fate and the fate of people he loves (I’m being vague because SPOILERS for a book i haven’t even queried yet!).
It would have been enough.
And in writing that, I found myself crying. Tears on my cheeks before I even recognized that’s why I was shivering.
Writing that scene changed my relationship with that song, and with the idea of ‘enough.’ I’ve been reminding myself lately to find the moments of happiness and peace in every day, even on days when I’m crying and exhausted and stressed and poor and all of those things we all know.
And to recognize them. To tweet or text or say aloud to someone or myself that that moment was good. Because sharing it is a form of acknowledgment that has a certain type of power to it.
Dayenu isn’t a silent prayer. It’s a loud, rousing song that we sing and laugh and clap to. And there’s the reason for that.
Reading often transforms me for the better. Writing transforms me for the better in quieter ways, in gradual ways, except sometimes: there’s a radical moment for a character that reflects a moment right back at me.