Yesterday I completed another year of life, turning 64, an age that at one time looked so far away. It was also the 265th day since I was hit by that car door, again looking back I could not have imagined where I would be today, physically. Aging is, of course, the natural process of life, no matter how much we rant or rave. This birthday and my continued recovery has hit me just a bit harder this year. I am in a time of transition into a new life, a new calling as I begin to ponder where this road I travel will take me. This Thursday might be my last class in this round at Grub Street, I say might be because there is a small possibility that the class may be extended another four weeks. I would welcome that extension as it will give me time to begin honing in on what I want to write about. Like many people I have a history, and in that history is my own story that I want to share. My own story is not unique, but it is mine and I believe that there is something within it that begs to be written about. This being a fiction class I have the place to play a bit with my own story. I can create the characters, chart their course, and move them through life’s various stages in a way that reflects my own journey. However, it’s not a memoir as such, a memoir requires a certain amount of truth telling that exposes the raw root of life. Fiction allows me to temper that root, to pass it onto a character and then let them take it to where they need to go. Fiction, for me, is also a meditation on life, a way for me to process the good, the bad and the ugly, to see it for what it is truly about. Lives, our lives, are not lived in isolation but are lived within the context of community. Not a perfect community but a community that struggles daily with its own sense of being, just like we as individuals seek out our purpose.
I have lived long enough to know that whatever I do is always subject to those invisible outside forces. The world in all of its splendor can be a dark and mysterious place, filled with many pitfalls and dangers. Yet, life can be unexpected, like coming over a ridge and seeing laid out before you a scene filled with life and color. At those moments our breath is taken away and we witness something that takes us into a new way of being. I’m not saying that my writing will do that, but it will help me to reflect more on my creative side, of taking those risks that break me free from the shackles of self doubt and fear.
Being 64, is not the end but it is a reminder that I am but a mere mortal and at some point this mortal life will wither and fade like the leaves on a tree. We all leave a piece of ourselves on those who cross our paths, some of what we leave is good, some not so good, but regardless of what it looks like it is there, a gift to be opened or thrown away. More and more I am hanging on to the most mysterious of all things, grace. You can’t see it, touch it much less control it, but grace surrounds me and all that I love not as some kind of protective force field, but more like a morning mist in which I move through. This mist sometimes obscures my vision, but then I come upon that clear patch in the fabric and there for a brief moment I see that great pearl, with a clarity that almost hurts to stare at, but which I reach for each day. Maybe, in some way my own writing, my own exposure to the secrets buried deep within my soul will become my way of being ever more open to this mystery that surrounds my life.