About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writing, Driving, and a Metaphor for Life

   I am thirty-eight years old and just recently took my first solo trip.  I’ve traveled before, but always with someone.  This was a trip just for me, all about me.  I left my son and husband at home so that I could attend a writing retreat in Lake Arrowhead.  

   It wasn’t easy for me to make the decision to attend this retreat.  I was intrigued by the idea; I wanted to experience a weekend where the only thing I had to do was write.  But I was afraid.  Afraid of what it would be like for my family without me and afraid of what it would be like for me without my family.

   Once I arrived, I realized that the drive up the mountain was really a metaphor for life.  There were parts of the drive that were quite beautiful.  Parts where I marveled that human beings could create a highway on this mountain.  But there were other parts that were frightening.  A steep climb, a series of twists and turns, yellow signs with zig-zaggy arrows.  Curves and bends without an end in sight.  Where was I going?

   Thanks to my husband’s help, I had a map on my phone, and a little voice that alerted me when I needed to turn left or right.  

   But things happen.  A lane is closed.  A street has a detour, and I needed to adjust my route.

   That’s the part I’m still trying to get better at.  I don’t always like it when things don’t go as planned.  And, for the last few years, my life hasn’t gone as planned.  An autoimmune disease wasn’t part of any plan.  As a result, it has become a huge part of who I am and what I do and do not do.

   Even with this trip, I almost let my disease stop me from going.  What if my legs hurt during the drive?  What if I had a flare-up while I was away from the comforts of my home?  What if ...?  And the answer was, then I’ll deal with it.  Same way I deal with it when I have pain at the California Science Center or during dinner.

   On day three, it was time to come home.  And while I knew driving downhill would be easier than driving uphill, the trip down the mountain was frightening in its own way.  The car picked up speed, seemed to have its own momentum, and I was (literally) carried along for the ride.  But, ultimately, it was up to me to make sure the speed didn’t get out of control.

   For one stretch of the drive, I wound up behind a large tour bus.  The driver navigated each twist and turn slowly and cautiously, and I, and the drivers behind me, were forced to do the same.  It was a reminder to me that in life it’s okay to slow down, to go even a little more slowly than necessary.  And in truth, those slow turns did help me relax a bit.

   Driving home, I still relied on the little voice on my phone to help me navigate.  But the longer I drove and the closer I got to home, the more familiar I felt with my surroundings.  As in life, I had to first go through those new patches until I could reach the familiar.

   I turned thirty-eight this year, and I said it was going to be a year where I pushed myself to do things -- things that are scary, things that I tend to classify as “maybe” or “someday.”  This trip, this writing retreat, was one of those things.

   For so long, I was on automatic pilot, and I didn’t have time to think about things like who I am, or if I’m happy, or what else I hope to accomplish.  I was a teacher.  A mother.  A wife.  I knew what I had to do, I knew what I had to accomplish.  And I knew that those jobs would make me very happy at certain times, and very unhappy at other times.  But that was all part of the plan.

   Now, without the full-time, away-from-home job, things have shifted.  Plans have changed.  Now, I am not a teacher, but I am a writer.  And I am a writer who plans to go on more retreats.


  1. I know you have wanted to go on this writing retreat for the past few years,and now you finally did it.I must admit I was very worried about you going especially with the medical condition you are dealing with as I didn't want you to be all alone in case you had a severe outbreak of pain.I knew you would deal with it but as your mother and no matter what your age I will always worry about you.I know the ride was scary and I am glad it all went well.I know you are still recovering from all the hard walking you had to do along with the pain that went with it.I am so glad you are writing more and that you work is being published in so many different places for others to read.You have a real talent with words.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. I know you had mixed feelings about going on this writing week-end, but I am glad you were able to go and have that writing time for you. I enjoy reading your work. Your mother & I are proud of you.
    love, dad

  3. Honey,
    I'm so glad that your were able to finally experience your writing retreat! You are a wonderful writer and deserve the time to work on your writing. I Love You!
    Love, me