Wednesday, September 29

the one thing

When I was a kid I wanted to write. I made up stories all the time. Storytelling was my best friend, literally. And then circumstances distracted me. Like life, and adolescence. I was a kid - shit happens. I got a second chance in my late twenties and realized that I still wanted to write. Sadly, I was complicit in my own betrayal and spent another ten years floundering around. A year and a half ago I got a third chance, saw an opening and jumped, sans parachute and without really looking. I’m not sure how this story ends, but the freefall is proving exhilarating. Most days.

Today I woke up and felt pretty fucking depressed. I didn’t want to work on the manuscript. I didn’t want to read news. I felt like I owed a blog post and couldn’t get in any kind of space to write it. There wasn’t even a topic. I toyed with my sense of ambivalence like a basketball, spinning it around and looking for a seam that I could pull open and pick at, but that felt about as close to masturbatory as I am inclined to discuss in this blog.

And then I realized what it was: After five days away, I missed my novel.


I missed it the way grass misses the spring, the way fish miss water. I missed my tortured characters. I missed their internal and external quandaries, their little moments of joy, hope and triumph. I missed the wide, wild, weeping landscape of the world I’ve created for them. I was homesick.

When I started the life-inversion and took the jump, the goal was to mold a creative life; something with a focus that allowed me to feel expansive. I wanted a one thing. You know, like in City Slickers. The novel has become, joyfully, the center of my own personal little internal solar system, both the thought of it and the creeping, oozing reality of it as it takes shape. It is my one thing, and neglecting it is a bit like not eating or sleeping.

Not good. You'd think I'd have figured this out before now. My obtuseness knows no bounds. (S’okay, there’s a happy ending.)

Here’s my point: I think the purpose of life is to find a purpose, a one thing, and give your self to it, without concern for destinations or accomplishments or milestones. The purpose of life is to know your passion and breathe into it with every breath, especially the last one. The purpose of life is to find a reason, the reason for you, and chase it like a junkyard dog until you get hit by a car and die. Just the purpose and the journey. The one thing.

For me, life works that way. I think.

My one thing and I were happily reunited this morning. Don’t look! It’s not polite.

This suggests a question, and I’d love to hear from you on this. Do you have a one thing? If so, what is it? If not, do you think you want one?