Walk On

19 Jul

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If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. — Joe Campbell

It’s July 19.

Two months have passed since preparations began for my first camping music festival, Roosterwalk.  Time has literally evaporated. In the last few days, thoughts to my writing routine have elbowed their way through the crowd of scattered road details to stand before me in irritated, slightly fearful anticipation. When will you write of the road again, lass? You have many stories to tell. Get to it before they stack like unbound brick only to topple over into a pile of dusty rubble.  Since January, it seemed I was writing my way out of something, the words leading me toward a meadow of summer travel. My vision of what the meadow would be is altogether different than what I found.

The meadow is wide. The flowers, in profusion. Each one is a beautiful tale to be shared. How to arrange them so you can see all the amazing truth and revelation, disappointment and apprehension I have had in eight short weeks? In May, I relished the thought of that meadow, having hours in the morning to clickety-clack away and time, lots of time to push away the urgency of the road, to “be”. But as most of us know, the path never leads where one thinks. And I’m suffering from a huge bout of lost words. It’s not writer’s block. I can write. But my passion to write review of the road has slowed. I need a muse, and the one which propelled me for months, I chose to send back into the forest. There is only so much yearning one can endure. For to me, the essence of the passion to write is a yearning for something, for someone, for a way of negotiating and reforming reality in the mind so that life meaning can be made. Muses pull the red iron blood of creativity, their energy like a lightning staff begging a strike by the flash of inspiration, but then again, they can also suck the body dry. Like a hissing Medusa, a moment happens when the blood runs stone cold and the artist awakens to the slavery of passionate pursuit. A moment finally arrives when one can’t decide who owns the words. The muse or the artist.

My writing confidence is heavy and damp, the humid cloud of shaping for audience muffling my process. Being at the workshop opened up a can of expectations that never were addressed. Yes, my writing is good enough for public view. Yes, I have interesting stories to tell. But as all good writers know, work is required, crafting, honing the edges of truth.

Diction. My word choice is often too elevated for average readers, but then again, great writers have rich language. I need to use descriptive phrasing sparingly, or write a poem when the language comes out so concentrated. Dilemma.

Narrative Arc. Build the tension, so the reader wants more, but then again, sometimes truths don’t come in nifty narrative patterns. Put in a bit of creative into the non-fiction. Be aware of first lines, which hook the reader. And throw out compositional rules. Fragments allowable.

Dialogue. Use it. Put the reader in moments that cannot be shown best any other way. Some of the interactions I’ve had this summer, though, are best forgotten. But then again, some like the evening I spent listening to a dear lady from the workshop debate the beginning of her own solo journey, are so intense, so emotional my words fail the moments.

And shorten posts. Keep them under 700 words. :-/

All heroes had a guide. I need one. Companions, I’ve got. Wise writing sage, I have not. I have lived in the forest, hacking through dense brush to find a writer’s path, alone. Upon arrival at the meadow, I only encountered the overwhelming complexity of the view. Clearly, I can walk anywhere. Anywhere. But the trees ahead look the same…I have to reenter the forest. But to find a path, I need a pointing finger, a voice, some sign.

I have followed signs throughout the last year, but more specifically the last seven months. The lion was with me in the days before Beloved. A heart emerged in Richmond, urging me to explore unconditional love. During a weekend with Americana and Roots bands, a guitar with wings appeared. “Music will save you”, it seemed to whisper. And now another has appeared.

It is the letter and the Civil War.

Letters to the lad I visited at Old City Cemetery, emerged quite spontaneously in my journal and in a different voice, the first during Red Wings Roots Festival this past weekend. Every banjo note, every mandolin trill, every bass strum began to deepen this knowing that all of the signs are tied , all the way back to the lion. A path has opened.

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