This space, these frank quarters have become my creative sanctuary, the most comfortable space I’ve found thus far, to doodle-down ideas, thoughts of my artistic endeavors, of my travels while in pursuit of all I’m passionate about. I’ve been to Peru, Canada, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Denver and all over Yellowstone in just the past 5 months and yes, I know I have failed to update anyone here as to what’s been going on. Part of the rationale ironically, is that I’ve been busy writing, and creating … and I’ve largely had to navigate some difficult waters concerning the rest of my life and have had my share of serious alone time but now, my closet doors feel ready to burst for it is time to dust off the bones hanging next to the tweed and air out the hampers.
The month of November is “National Novel Writing Month” and I’ve accepted the challenge. I’ve had it in mind for years, to write many books, memoirs, screenplays, comic strips, and the list goes on. I have stacks of binders and journals and a billion bytes of email where I’ve stored my ideas and yet, the distilling mill has lain in clank-clad ruins, past yon rusted shed near the back of my wooded thoughts … enter NaNoWriMo.
The challenge is all about dumping down the ideas, putting the words like puppies out to play – without worrying about how dirty they may get. I’m more than half way through the month and less than half way towards the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days; but there are still a couple of weeks to go and so, with holiday time off from work, and plans of solitude over a holiday weekend, I can remain in my socks and stained Tees and just play with all those words, never leaving the house, forgoing all the business of the typical traditions … and for this I’m ironically most grateful. Give me more of nothing, less of everything, and I will be most thankful indeed.
I’ve downsized my life immensely since my last marriage ended more than 13 years ago. One less bell to answer they say and now after renting out my homes, placing my excess vehicles in storage and housing what’s left of my life in 29 plastic Walmart tubs, I’m feeling quite spry. Then there’s this summer’s yard sale, were I gave away thousands of pounds of collectibles including my record collections, video tapes, and miss-matched Tupperware which someone thought was valuable. I’d even given away 90 percent of my books, two thirds of my clothes and half of my furnishings to others who would in turn, churn it over for what they could squeeze from the fibers – garage-sale-gone forever. I’ve purged myself of nearly all I plan to, save for three house plants (which have outlasted two marriages) and my pets’ ashes. I’ll find a good home for the plants before my next major exit; and my kid’s remains will remain with me until I can find the strength to grieve their loss one last time. After that, all I need are my passports and credit cards, something to write with and time inside my personal church.
I’ve often said when I grow up, I wish to be a cartoon. My outline is becoming more distinct and the half tone texture to my face is something I’m acquiring a fancy for. It’s probably a good thing I never had children and likely the reason as well I never fully grew up, but I’m finally old enough to admit that I deserve to be selfish for real.
Unlike the bawling baby I may have been as a child, at the supermarket, begging mommy for candy, forcing her to whack my swampy bottomed britches with every shopper from dog food to laundry soap turning to smirk. I’m slightly less embarrassing to witness these days, and I can buy my own candy, thank you. But I am saving my true rebellion, my selfish pouting now, for my personal work – all that creative stuff the “artist child” inside me screams for. Anyone else, friend, foe or pencil-necked administrative alien in a suit who seeks to steal away my time, will have to live without me. It’s a choice I’m trying to make, daily. It’s not easy but I’m running out of time and the stuff I care little about, has been running my life for too long already, crowding my space and mind. It’s time to thrive, not merely survive. Not in anger, nor contempt nor with intent to hoard a glutton’s dose of experience and savory delights just for me, but rather to shed the baggage, the possessions and obligations that tend to take me away somewhere that anymore, just feels dreadful, usually in exchange for little reward. No thank you.
I am thankful however, that there’s less of me that I dislike these days, and less of mine that’s taking up space on some crowded shelf. I’m leaving all the stuffing for the birds this year which, as they lay brown and crisp upon tables everywhere in America, goblets of giblet gravy at the ready, I’m thankful I can say at least, that I’ve truly had my share.