Last week in the regular writing circle I facilitate, this was my 5-minute free-association on a Benjamin Moore paint sample called “Potpourri Green.” Minimal editing as I type it out here.

 There’s a filmy memory of a dress made of tulle. A princess dress of pale pale pale green. Pale green like a shimmery fairy would wear.

It’s summer before 2nd grade. It’s end of the summer before 2nd grade. It’s nearly Labor Day and I am to be a flower girl in a wedding.

A real wedding.

I will walk down the aisle in the pretty pale green oh-so-very-long princess dress and everyone will see I am so very beautiful. The dress hangs on the closet door, waiting for its day, reminding me that day is coming. The bride’s day. My day.

I get chicken pox. It’s a fever and a sweat. It’s really not so bad. Then the bumps come. A few at first. Then a dozen. Then a whole throng gangs up on me.

My mother is biting her lip. There’s something I can’t read in her expression as I talk talk talk about the big day ahead, as I twirl around the living room, as I gaze at the pale green dress hanging on the closet door. Maybe moms just worry when their kids are sick.

Then the rash is fading. My face is no longer flaming. I am no longer itching. In fact I feel fine. The rough bumps covering my arms and legs feel sort of nice now that they aren’t stinging. I feel fine. My day is almost here!

My mother tells me they are taking the dress away and giving it to another flower girl.

“But I feel fine,” I say.

She bites her lip.

“I feel fine,” I shout.

She tilts her head and looks sad.

“The dress is mine,” I say.

“No matter,” my mother says, “you cannot wear it. You cannot go. You can not and you will not make everyone sick in your princess dress.”

“But no!” I cry, the heave before the tears filling my 7-year-old body, “I feel fine!”

I lead writing and mindfulness workshops throughout the Bay Area. My approach is adaptable in many settings — from helping groups honor an important life event to assisting a business team in articulating a shared vision. Contact me to learn more. For information on my San Francisco real estate practice, visit or