Hello friends! Where have you all scuttled off too this month? I miss you around here… I’ve been changing things up… have you noticed? It's still a work in progress. (I crashed my entire theme twice. I wish I understood CSS.)
Something about having the kickstarter widget broadcast in the sidebar was really throwing off my mojo the past couple of days. I started to hate seeing the amount of funding flatline... and it has been interesting to listen to my own inner dialogue turn doubtful, even as I’ve gotten the most exciting new (!) and incredible support because of it so far. (Can’t tell yet....not for a while.)
I am discovering that art and risk become something else entirely once a dollar sign is attached. It’s made me take myself seriously as a writer and artist in a hundred ways I never saw coming...and for a long, long time I never took art and writing seriously (although they were the things that made my heart sing) because my father—who was an enormous influence in my life when he was alive—pushed me towards a ‘worthy’ profession. While he appreciated art in a sort of distant and abstract way, he implied often that to pursue it would be self-absorbed and indulgent, compared with pursuing a career in the service of others—as a teacher.
So I became a teacher.
To this day, one of my greatest regrets is that I listened to him when he told me that interning at Ms. would be a frivolous waste of my time. I still wonder how my career would have been different had I taken that internship that I’d been offered.
So it’s been a long time coming for me to believe that my words and art can be a career. And this way, this project has been an incredibly tender and scary and exciting process of self discovery.
I have been breathing, eating, sleeping and dreaming ideas and words. And I’ve been thinking about the community on the web, and what makes it, and about how if we could meet, we’d look each other in the eyes and laugh and share delight and there would be no question in your mind that you’d put ten bucks behind me. But here, in this almost imaginary place, filled with a vast, unfathomable amount of information and creativity, I am small.
There it is.
In the middle of the night I wake up wondering what failing at this might look like. I watch the snow falling outside the window and wonder if it was foolhardy to leap without a parachute, holding only the strings of handful of helium balloon hopes. Then I wake up in the morning and I can feel excitement zinging in my veins. This is what I want. This creative, terrifying journey. This work.
Every winter I wait for a time when I can no longer remember the way the world looked before white, and then I know that spring is near. I wait until I feel myself falling into the faulty labyrinth of memory. Like a mime, I like to put my hands up against the pretend container of the present and see how well it holds me. And today it happened.
Today I can’t remember leaves. I look at the gray birch out my window, the one that is tall and leaning with the rot gnawing at a burl where a limb was torn away in a summer thunderstorm, and I cannot see it green with shimmering leaves. Logically, I can remember it, but I cannot really see it in my minds eye any longer. This is the beginning of spring fever. This is when snow is wet and heavy and slides off the roof hard and fast in sudden melting avalanches. This is when, invisible mighty things start happening in the earth.
Sap will flow. The birds know. Soon they will start building nest with mud and sticks.
I'll be posting about the project once a week from here on out...and over on the kickstarter site maybe more often. (I don't want this blog to become all about this project all the time.)
Please know that your gentle words of support are just as valid and and inspiring and helpful as a pledge. I get that times are hard, and there are other, bigger things (Haiti, for one).
And I am curious tonight: have you ever ventured out on a limb for something that you wanted or believed in? What was it? How did it turn out?