Sunday, January 6, 2019
Last night was the first new moon of the new year. I’d cleared out my inbox, my apartment. and my calendar in preparation for focusing on writing the book I've been working on. . . . forever. I felt nervous but determined. Despite a body-crushing fever and head-splitting migraine this was the day! (Yes, this "do-or-die" attitude has both helped me focus and taken me off track before.) This morning, in the tradition in which I was steeped as a child, is Epiphany- the story of the three kings bearing gifts journeying to honour the Christ-child, guided by a star. It is a story of following an unexpected light that appears in the dark landscape of not-knowing. This morning the Grandmothers of my dreams came and spoke to me. They told me what my body has been telling me for a decade: I cannot write this book in the way I have been trying to write it (as a memoir) without doing myself harm. Bodies and dreams never lie, but their languages of symptoms and symbols can be easily (and sometimes deliberately) misunderstood. The Grandmothers left me no room wiggle room for misunderstanding. "Write it as a novel. Let the truth shine through in a story that is bigger and deeper than your memory of the facts." I have faith in stories. They're what change us. They're how we live our nature as meaning-making animals. They open the imagination to new ways of seeing our own experience and our shared world. And I am terrified. I know how to write stories, but I write non-fiction, guided by facts that feel more solid than fiction. Opening the door to something that feels larger. . . . to a story I do not already know. . . feels risky. What if I can't do it? What if I write a crappy novel? And telling you about it here feels insane, because I have no idea where it will lead! (Really, it could eventually lead back to memoir, or into a spy novel, or pages filled with nonsense that will never be shared!) So there we have it: the shining star of my own longing to tell a story appearing in the dark night of not-knowing how. So, I gather my provisions (silence, solitude, and the quiet company of fellow travellers) and step into the journey, not knowing where it will take me. That's the thing about creative work of any kind- it's a lot like life: unpredictable, sometimes scary, and filled with dark nights and shining stars. ~Oriah Gratitude for this photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming- may we find the light of our own deepest longing reappearing on the horizon each day to guide us.