Sunday, June 6, 2010

Writing Adjacent Life

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some under culture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”
- Don Delillo


She had a mind of her own and I let her lead me – the anchor slowing down her progress, tethered by a leash. Nose to the ground, she wove back and forth, a half second pause - long enough to glance back over her shoulder. Her eyes challenging me to follow as she dipped her head parting the foliage and disappeared down a hidden deer path. I hesitate; I could barely make out the curve of her black tail with the white tip a few feet in front of me. The leash went whip sharp tense and held, coaxing me to follow.

I dipped down, an outstretched hand in front of me, and glimpse a miniature tunnel made by flowering towers of Dame’s Rocket bent in an arch by the eroding switch cane bamboo. I took a tentative step forward and a soft laugh escapes. Encouraged by the sound, Pickles’ head reappears. Her mischievous grin seemed to say, what did I tell you? I barely have time to breathe in the delicate scent of flowers along her dog made tunnel, before I felt the pull of her leash beckoning. Petals tickle my face and thorny tendrils nick my arms. Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole came to mind.

We’ve traveled this way to the creek before. This is a first for the Dames to have grown so tall in the bamboo forest. Pickles nudges my hand impatiently, she smells the water and knows the creek isn’t far. We plunge our way through cane 3ft or more above our heads, with little visibility, our only guide the trampled foot path of deer before us, until at last we made it to the creek’s edge. I found Paradise on a hot May afternoon, skipping from one stone to the next trying to keep my footing, splashed by a wet dog chasing twigs twisting and tumbling down the stream; as we followed another tunnel of sorts carved by time and water.

A momentary reprieve in an otherwise never-ending writing splurge and gift of sanity to keep me going; when, I accidentally deleted day’s worth of work. Heartsick and frustrated my sidekick ignored my pouting and ranting, curved a paw around my hand and glanced toward the door. She knew I’d get her meaning. Another outing, in the same general direction we took a few days previous, except we didn’t go down the tunnel of Dame’s Rocket. Pickles wanted to explore a different path, another adventure.

Taking a lesson from Pickles, that evening I sat down and started over, exploring diverse words and taking my book in a new direction. In the back of my mind I held the wonder of the flowering tunnel and realized - life is in the writing. Some words, just like days can’t be salvaged, but the idea and heart of what is written still exist; still lives, waiting for the right tandem and flow to carry them from head to finger tip. And such is life - sometimes we’re not meant to grasp where the story leads us, or given answers to what the day brings. Dare to discover, dare to trust in the simple things.

Today, I’m still filling pages, writing chapters and duplicating life in words. It’s a high I’m not ready to come down from just yet. Unfortunately (or not), my absence will be for a few more weeks yet. It’s all good. I’m simply giving in to my muse (and busy rewarding the sidekick – wonder dog extraordinaire).

Picture from here...