That is the lifelong question. I want to know your answer, because it will speak volumes about who you are. I think it changes every day, and every year, depending on what we know, and what is lacking in our lives.
In this particular context I was thinking about the struggle of the writer: do you spend your time observing and fashioning descriptions of life, or are you fully in the moment, present, living it? Do I throw myself into love; consequences, time constraints, and emotional vulnerabilities be damned? Or do I keep myself withdrawn and give myself the discipline and structure it takes to be a better artist? Can I do both?
But living fully for me in general means a few things right now:
Being loved, and loving. Improving the world using my skills, thoughts, and energy. Exploring the world in its multifaceted and dangerous splendor. Eating great food. Pushing myself, and getting stronger. Illuminating the darkness for those more fragile. Bearing witness to the end of days. Going down all roads in search of truths. Being uncompromising about truth, when I can see it, and thoughtful about it when I can't.
I am typically of one of two minds. For entertainment purposes, let's paint them in their extremes.
I either wake up in action, uncoiling like a spring, with a gasp, and I move. I want to boldly and uncompromisingly assess challenges and take them on, honing my mind into acuity in response to the twists and turns life throws me. I am strong, and virile, and laughing the triumphant laugh of a joyful and wrathful god, many headed. I want to dance and sing with the glory of living. I do not want to crush my enemies because I have no enemies, I only have challenges that make me stronger. Everything improves in my presence because I love everything and I am alive.
In this mindset, my purpose on this planet is to use my mind, my body, my charisma, and my determination to improve the world. This is the version of myself that wants to run the Bicycle Collective, that wants to write a best-selling young adult novel that shows kids to confront their fears and insecurities with joy and love for their allies. The version of me that smiles when talking to a homeless person because I have the capacity to love them and in that love is salvation for both of us.
Or I wake up slow. I want nothing better than to find refuge from the world, in someone's arms, in food, in distraction. By running away. I acknowledge the frailty of the world and my own frailty within it. At these times I feel things like thunderbolts, and the calamity of the human condition leaves me a cold vessel. My eyes no longer crackle, they become repositories of dread and sadness.
Here, I am meant to be a measure of what is real. I am meant to feel what can be felt, and decipher it into poetry. The hurt can hurt me, but I am protected from it in my role as a recorder. I loathe the damage that the teenager receives just by being surrounded by other broken people. The homeless person terrifies me because I might soon become them. And the sky's darkness is the harbinger of the future.
The compassion of the quiet me and the radiance of the bold me can serve two purposes.
They can be poured into another person, who absorbs them, learns from them, nurtures them, is emboldened by them, or maybe even is broken by them.
Or they can be poured into text like charged ions into batteries. Wrapped up into complicated emotional talismans to tell the human story, and hopefully, save the world.
Ideally they serve a combination of the two. Which is where I figure my shit out.
- ► 2012 (32)
- ► 2011 (55)
- ► 2010 (57)
- ► 2009 (99)