The prompt for this week's Sunday Scribblings is a quote by Diane Ackerman, who wrote a book of poetry titled Origami Bridges, which I once bought for a dollar and has since become on of my favorite poetry books. Diane Ackerman also wrote A Natural History of the Senses, which is one of the most stunning non-fiction books I have ever read. I'm reading it again, for the third time. In a month.
"I don't want to be a passenger in my own life."
When I read the prompt for this week, I had two parallel thoughts in my head: 1) I don't want to be a passenger, so I'm going to get out of the car; and 2) I don't want to be a passenger, so I'm going to make the driver pull over and get the fuck out of the car so I can drive where ever I want. And then I looked up from the computer, outside to the fading garden, and saw huge, white snowflakes sparkling as they fell, occasionally illuminated from within by a crack of lightning, flashing red like a radio antennae in the night.
Tiny lights twinkle on the neighbor's deck, across the backyard. Their shining reminds me of streetlamps on the highway, driving down the road in the blackness of winter, intersections lit up to avoid accidents in the ice. I used to make a four-hour drive frequently (at least once every two weeks), and in those dark winter months, I wish I could take the back seat, not have to pay attention, just be along for the ride. It was like that in my life, too.
When I went to Washington, I thought I was taking an active role in my life, making choices and decisions that would help me become the person I strive to be. In hindsight, I went to Washington and became a passenger, along for someone else's joy ride. What happened is that the driver pulled the car over, had sex with me, and then let me out on the side of the road, $100 in hand, with no way home. (*Keep in mind, this is MY perception.*) A love I thought had been as innocent as the first true snow was, in fact, a carousel ride. One in which you put in your money, and you only get half a ride. You have to keep adding quarters in order to have any fun at all.
And now I'm here, in Wisconsin, and the carnival is in town. Mercury is Retrograde (just like last time), and I'm wanting to go for a ride. Only this time, the ride isn't a ploy to get you to spend more money. The ride actually wants to give you something, wants to share in the magick with you, together. It doesn't want you to be a pssenger, but to drive right along with it. Like in those cars they use for driver's ed, with two steering wheels and two sets of pedals, so at any moment, either of you can drive.
And the second driver is ... me.
Maybe it sounds strange, but there isn't anyone I would rather be on this journey, in this moment, with than me. I've never taken the time to learn myself, to figure out who I am what I'm doing. I went from being in college to being under the roof of my lover, which didn't work out, and now I'm here, in all thoughts alone, and I'm stuck figuring out who I am and what I want in life. I have made some decisions in the past few weeks that have not been the wisest, but they have been mine. Anyone who wishes to fault me for them cannot possibly understand what it means to make a choice based on the options presented. And anyone who wishes to fault me for them perhaps does not want me to learn and grow and make the mistakes I have to make in order to become who I want to be.
And so I agree with Diane Ackerman. I do not want to be a passenger in my life. I want to be both passenger, and driver. I want to plough ahead, making decisions and coming upon obstacles, but I also want the ability to look at the map, see the bigger picture, be my own navi-guesser. If I can't do both, I can't be fully me. I can't see where I'm headed, nor where I've been. I can't see the road at all.
Sometimes I sit by candlelight and play the piano. Sometimes I sit by candlelight and write, not worrying about the lines on the page but just capturing those first thoughts, those nuggets, those sparks of wisdom coming off the wick. Sometimes I sit by candlelight and cry, asking, begging the Goddess to give me wisdom. And then I remember the Crone, the Hag; Shi who is me looking back at this moment, this decision, remembering the options and knowing what is the best choice. Shi who is me sharing the wisdom of after this moment, the wisdom of what comes next. Shi sits in the back seat, watching over my shoulder with whispered directions, guidance.
And when I look out the window, at the snow frozen on the tree branches over my backyard, the white fingers waving in the blustry night, I remember that I am not alone. Because, if there is no one, there is always me.
ETA:I forgot a quote! Oops! Okay, here's one I've been mulling around for a while now:
A budding writer could not emerge from [hir] chrysalis too soon.