As a writer, I spend a lot of my time in coffee shops. I know it sounds cliché, but coffee shops are pretty great places to be. The coffee is never-ending. There’s usually bites that are not good for the hips but perfectly great for the soul. And if you put your earbuds in, you can pretend all the other people there, aren’t there at all.
This morning I wanted to get a few hours of writing in before I headed to my day job. It was supposed to be my day off, so I pushed it to the very last second, as I’m known to do. (inner rebel) Perhaps even a few minutes longer than I should have, while waiting for my go-cup of coffee.
I made my way to the parking lot. I found my car with ease. I got in, put it in reverse and zipped down the lane to the exit of the strip shopping center.
I found myself behind a woman in a white SUV. Midsize. Rather new. I could see her reflection in her side view mirror. She looked coiffed. Put together.
But she didn’t seem to have a clue where she was going.
She looked to her left. She looked to her right. She looked forward.
She kept the car stopped and in one position, straddling both her lane and the lane of oncoming traffic. There was no room to maneuver around her.
At first I was frustrated. I said to myself, “Not everyone is confused lady, some of us know where we’re going. Some of us even know how we want to get there.”
That’s when the similarities to the situation and writing came to mind. I am blessed to know many writers. And I know many people who want to be writers. But they’re just sitting still, straddling the lanes and looking around.
They don’t seem to know what to do. They don’t seem to know where to go.
I consider myself one of the fortunate ones. I have a prize in mind. And it’s not what you might think.
I want my stories read, my voice heard.
I want my voice out in the cosmos — as weak and feeble as my voice might sometimes be. I’m in my writing driver’s seat and I’ve chosen a lane.
I have a plan. I have a mind map. I have a calendar filled with goals and dates by which I want to achieve said goals. But I wasn’t always like this.
I was that woman, sitting in the car, not knowing where to go, for nearly all of my life.
I had a good professional life, which I set aside to be a mom and a caretaker for various family members who were gravely ill, some of whom have shuffled off this mortal coil.
But besides that, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was forty-something, still wondering what I was going to do when I grow up.
I love to write. (and yes, I smiled when I wrote that)
I always have. Since I first set crayon to construction paper. But being a writer didn’t translate in my world. I didn’t know how to make writing a career. I was caught up in the monetizing, legitimizing, confidence eroding elements of “being” a writer. My mind equated career with financial success. And it was ruining me.
Sometimes, I don’t know if I’ll ever make much more than a dime from this. I definitely recognize that the hours I put in versus the money I receive don’t really add up. No one would call me a success, well most people, anyway. And that’s ok, because I believe my riches are greater still than anything you can figure with a calculator.
I’m happy. I’m delighted. I’m overjoyed. And I’m humbled to be an artist.
I’m excited to finally lay claim to that which has pretty much been a part of my soul since the moment I could speak.
I AM A STORYTELLER by birth and a writer by trade.
As long as I keep telling my stories, creating new worlds and new people, something of me will exist when my physical self no longer wanders this plane. I will exist.
In the mist. In the ether. In the eternal.
Physically, in the now. And in the later.
We’re all either neck-deep in the muck, searching for our souls’ desires, or we are straddling the lanes, knowing not which way to go. But each of us hopes we might figure out what our soul’s desire might be.
Long before we draw our last breath.
Art is a dynasty. Even when the art is only for yourself.
Steven Pressfield wrote in Turning Pro, “What you and I are really seeking is our own voice, our own truth, our own authenticity.”
Whatever soul-searching venture the well coiffed, SUV driving lost soul, might be struggling with, I hope she finds what she needs. I hope she finds her way.