Life: The Journey Continues

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At a recent writing workshop William Bernhardt asked us to identify three important values in our lives. This being an exercise I had completed in a different chapter of  life, my three qualities were easy to list.

I value creativity, both divine and human. My passion for the earth nestles within this category. Additionally my environmental activism, love for wildlife, nature, artistic attempts by my friends and family, music composition, and the process of writing fall under this heading.

I value harmony, in which individual elements fit together pleasantly into a whole. My passion for music and keyboard instruments is included here, of course. But I also list human relations, cooperation, love, honesty, integrity, generosity, service, and commitment.

Third on my list is education, the quality of being a student for life. Openness, a willingness to learn, to explore and to seek new adventure cluster under this heading.

On the rare occasion when facets of all three collide in one place at one time, I feel euphoric. The past weekend at the OWFI annual convention in Norman, Oklahoma was such an event. Opportunities to learn new techniques and consider alternative viewpoints filled the education criterion. Everyone I met, totally involved in the creative process, affirmed my own aspirations. New friendships, laughter, frolics, and plans to meet again created a joyous cloud on which we practically floated home. Education, harmony and creativity—a weekend of bliss.

To have a publisher request to see samples of my writing topped the experience. A new corner has been turned. A new chapter in life has started. Whether the request leads to a published book remains to be seen. For now, I will enjoy the notion that someone wants to see what I have to offer.

Many thanks go to Bill Bernhardt for coaching my pitch and query, as well as instruction on the elements of manuscript creation. Thanks also to my writing friends for reading and offering constructive criticism to polish the words. We are indeed word weavers. The process—the journey—continues! Such is the creative life.

The Creative Life

Life

I write my life.  Since the age of ten when I wrote my first story and was instantly hooked, I have been infected with a mysterious contagion for which there is no cure.   Writing stories, poems, novel manuscripts and memoirs has been part of my life ever since.  Yet I don’t live to write.  I live.  And I write.  I write my life.

Through young adulthood, curiosity led me to question things.  Whether any purposeful meaning existed or not, I asked, “What does this mean?  Why am I here?  What am I to do with my life?”wren.jpg

The search for answers helped sharpen my powers of observation until nearly everything holds metaphorical parallels to some facet of the human condition.  I watch a moose lunge exhausted through shoulder-deep snow and I learn the dangers of choosing an easy path.

I stand in a downpour and hear the rain plummet from heaven in one step of the water cycle.  And it spoke to me of cycles in life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI watch a family of ducks chase madly from one point to another and back again and I see human fads and opinions mirror the whimsical parade of a flock of ducks.

I watch my best friend waste away in a losing battle with cancer and I understand how the growing demands of humanity sap the vitality of our home planet in a similar fashion.

Meadowlarks leap into the wind so they might gain lift and fly away.  And I learn I cannot hide from life.  I must face my own torrential gale of events if I am ever to find the answers to my questions.

Messages from the universe arrive on the dust of a sun beam and the wings of the wind.  As a writer, my task becomes one of interpretation, to paint in words the messages which I hear.

Too restless to be able to handle writing at my desk for hours at a time, I discovered that “The Writing Life” was not for me.  Rather, “The Creative Life” seemed a better term.  What is a creative life?  Just as a blank page begs a poet to fill it with thoughts which will touch a heart, or a computer screen winks with invitation to a novelist, a canvas beckons an artist to paint images that will coax emotion from viewers.  A chunk of granite calls a sculptor to release the figure trapped within.  An ordinary scene invites a photographer to transform its image into beauty with a camera lens.  A composer looks at a blank musical score and hears a new symphony.  A plot of land begs management that will develop its natural beauty.  An empty house is an opportunity for unique self-expression.  And the minutes of each new day invite me to follow my heart and fill those minutes well so that at dusk, I can say, “I wrote my life well today.”

To answer any one of these invitations is to live The Creative Life.  By filling empty spaces with an art form of our passions, we bridge the void from the rest of the universe to the human heart.  So I write my life.  I may take to the Flint Hills of Kansas with my camera strapped to my shoulder.

The Flint Hills.

I may arrange a beautiful melody for the participation and enjoyment of a crowd of people.  Or I may fill empty pages with metaphors.  What emerges is truth.  Or fiction.  Or a combination of both.   After all, someone may need the message delivered on this dawn’s breeze.