Walk The WalkSeptember 2, 2008 at 6:20 PM | Posted in Journal | 2 Comments
So, Saturday we drive down to Mount Vernon Illinois, which is roughly a hundred miles away, and stayed with my Aunt Nina. Of my dad’s siblings, only the daughters are left. Nina, Gloria, Donna, and Audrey. Dad and Junior passed away more recently, and they had a brother Gary that died when he was fifteen–I want to say about 1945.
Gloria lives nearer to us, and we can see her more often. But we got a chance to see all of my Mount Vernon Aunts while we were there. Donna came by on Saturday, and Audrey came by on Sunday. And it was nice, especially for my daughter to see them, and talk with them a bit, especially Aunt Nina, because we stayed with her.
Got to learn more about the story about past relatives. Nina is the family historian, for now. Some interesting and odd things…
Saturday night, after dinner, Detroit and I stepped outside for a smoke. It was a cool night in the country, no lights anywhere, and the stars were bright. Surprisingly, no problem with bugs. It was nice. We come back in, and…where are Nina and Miranda? In the playroom, sitting down, and just talking about stuff. Deep stuff.
We sat in, and talked about many things. Psychic stuff. Auras. God. Reincarnation. Other beliefs. It was quite something to hear my daughter express herself about this topic.
But this is not about all of that.
My Aunt Nina lives in Mount Vernon, which is just barely big enough to be a city. In fact, she lives outside of it, in the country a few miles. But her house is listed in the Mount Vernon "Things To Do" website and print info. Aunt Nina has a labyrinth.
If you know what that is, good–I don’t have to explain it to you. But for others, I need to explain. Several years ago, she took her above ground pool down, and had a big….spot. At that time she was beginning to be interested in them, and so she did build it. Let’s just put some links in here.
So, it’s not a maze. The difference is, a maze has several paths you can take, choices you can make. A labyrinth has just one path to follow all the way through. And it’s not 6 or 8 feet high so you can’t see over it; it’s just a brick pathway to follow.
The purpose for it is meditation, and connection to the earth, and your spirit, and so forth. I get the meditation thing. And there is supposed to be a purpose for it. You are suppose to…I don’t know. Think about something that you want, or don’t want. A wish maybe, or a change. You leave something in the dish as you enter, and when you get to the middle, my aunt had prepared some cards kind of like Chinese fortunes, one of which you are to pick.
I had her explain it to Miranda better, so I could listen. I had walked the labyrinth before, but with no clear goal. But as we had talked the night before and this Sunday morning, some clarity oozed in, like blood through a seeping Sponge Bob bandage on your knee after scraping it and getting a boo-boo. That happened also, by the way.
Now–now I had a clearer idea of what I wanted. What I wanted to wish for. The answers that I sought, what I hoped to accomplish. Now I knew what to ask for.
I was ready, and I stepped near the labyrinth. I held the object in my hand, lightly, and just held it, but did not dwell on it. I stepped in. The path is fairly straightforward, just stay on the path. It encompassed the entire area that the pool had taken, and was roughly circular in shape. It followed the landscape as well, with a hill to the right, and several loops of the ring passed over it. The path had overgrown with weeds, also, and to me it gave it a primitive look, and a connection with nature.
I walked slowly, and began my thought process/meditation. I knew what I wanted to accomplish–and I knew what I wanted to get from this to accomplish my tasks.
I thought first of all the artists that we have in the family. Each of us have some talent. Nina paints and draws and makes jewelry and sculpts and does lots of things. I know her daughters are artists, and Carrie’s daughter–I forget her name at the moment–is going to art school. Others as well: Little Greg, who is a tattoo artist. Cousin Joe, who is an artist of sorts with concrete. All of these people, and the legacy from which they sprang. My kids, daughter and son, are both very talented. Miranda created some drawings for Nina while we were there.
And my talent–what is it? I used to draw, I wanted to. I wanted to do alot of things. I had explained to Nina about my flash drive: I have a folder called "creative Projects" which is all of my ideas. In there are many other folders. My standup, this blog, my fiction, non fiction, and poetry. So many others that without looking at it I don’t know what they are. My comic strip. And then, for instance, in "Fiction," I have a folder for each of my bigger novel ideas, and there are about 15 or so. Then another folder for short fiction, and a page called "idea bucket," where I just write down ideas for stories I’d like to do. All in all, I have ideas for well over 30 novels. Am I going to write any of them?
Well, that is a very good question. I need to write. I need time, and a place, and a…Well, I’m not sure what else I need, but I need something.
Oh–motivation, focus, and direction.
As I walked, the path seemed to follow the ebb and flow of my thoughts as well. Near the weeds, I was always in the middle of a quandary, a problem. On the hills, I always felt good, and felt as though I accomplished something, even if it was only in my mind that I accomplished it.
And I realized a few things. It was kind of like an equation, where you start with one premise, resolve it, accept it, and use that as the basis and move forward.
The first thing was that I didn’t really want to be creative for the money. Or *just* for the money. Creativity is an end to its own. Other people have been and will be creative, and there is no shame in it. As I saw from Aunt Nina, you can proud of what you create and be willing, and *want* to show it to other people. I had thought it was a bit juvenile, I guess. "Look at me, look at me!" But if you’re creative, it’s natural to create–and it’s natural to want to show it to people. Nothing to be ashamed of. This came as a relief to me, actually .
The thing after that was that I *AM* creative, and I while I shouldn’t necessarily flaunt it, I should use it, expose it, nurture it, embrace it. Let it define me more, because it does define me. Revel in it, enjoy it, wallow in it. Maybe not that, exactly, but you get the idea.
What followed after that was the harder part. What to do, specifically, in the creative world? I want to do so much, that more often than not I am spinning my wheels, looking for purchase on this slippery hill of ideas I am trying to surmount. (Ironically, I was walking up a hill when I had this thought.)
I need to pick a direction, and start walking. Pick a theme, and stick with. Pick an idea, a format, a something–pick one and go with that one. Finish it. Finish something. So many of my other ideas–but if I don’t pick something I will never accomplish anything. Maybe I can return to those later; no need to get rid of anything.
So. I need to stick to the writing, and write. And submit items for publication. I’m sure to get some rejection, that’s the nature of the business. But you won’t get accepted until you submit as well. Write, submit, keep going. That’s the mantra. That’s the new mantra.
I entered the middle, and circled around it while I came to these obvious conclusions. Then, I dropped in the bowl the item I brought, the thing I wanted to get rid of: An old driver’s license of mine, essentially an avatar depicting the old me. I wanted the new me to emerge.
Then I picked a card from the middle of the short splayed stack in the bowl. I didn’t think of this part as that important to the process; this just seemed random to me.
"There are no ‘accidents.’ I am always in the right place at the right time."
And the other side:
"I am right on schedule. Where I am is a necessary step to where I shall be."
These two both had an eerie relevance to my life. The first, especially, because Detroit has always said that "things happen for a reason." This is the ultimate paraphrase of that, I feel.
And the second thing…a little bit of relief. I always feel I am running out of time. Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin, into the future. Pretty soon I’ll have no time left.
And now I turned around to walk the path again, the exit route. I had some clarity, and some focus, and some renewed purpose. It might take me some time to put these lessons into action, but I felt I would, and sooner rather than later. I thought of all my creative projects. My cartoon strip, my writing and poetry, my game designs, my inventions. My money-making ideas.
I can’t sift through the crap as yet, so I’ll keep it. But I need to concentrate on the writing, because that is my strength. Make time, and do it. Even if it’s just a brief amount of time every week, set it aside and use it for writing.
I traveled toward the exit, with these thoughts in my head. I realized I had some hurdles to get over, to jump. As I neared the exit, the vision I had in my mind’s eye was me, jumping a hurdle. And the hurdle?
The hurdle was me also.
I came out of the labyrinth with a chuckle. I don’t know where that came from, but that’s funny. And true.