Friday, August 06, 2010

Underneath the covers

Best time for salads is summer (beans are from our garden, tomatoes from someone else's)

Wednesdays I am supposed to post, and Wednesday I wrote this horrible, horrible post, where all of my darkness exploded, as it likes to do. I wasn’t brave enough to make it public. But I keep thinking about it. I’ve always believed that once I write something it doesn't belong to me anymore. It belongs to its intended audience. In this case, the ether.

That’s basically what I wrote about on Wednesday. How useless I’m beginning to feel like this exercise is. How I’m developing all of these carefully wrought arguments, crafting and shaping them into essays that make compelling points about the issues that are the most important to me, and how no one on earth gives a flying miracle.

I’ve been rereading my posts from the boat, and they were brilliant. Brilliant. I’m stunned I even wrote them. How could I have tapped into such depths? I felt like what I was doing then was nothing. When what I’m doing now is nothing. Nothing.

My blog’s title is “Casting Off,” which used to be a cute double entendre—cast off earthly things, and cast off the bow lines! Now it just feels farther and farther from what I’m doing. I wanted to name the site “Ultralight Life,” because I felt like whatever happened my commitment to living the purest, simplest life possible would never change. It hasn’t changed, but I do feel a bit like I’ve lost my way.

I miss my home. I miss Secret. I miss the clarity that I felt in those days. Now, so aware of my audience, or of my lack thereof, I’m too afraid to tell the truth in this space. The truth is that I am a writer. I’ve always been a writer. No matter what hat I put on--adventurer, backpacker, bicyclist, pilgrim, sailor, traveler—all I ever will be is a writer.

I cast off Secret partly because things fell apart, but mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to be both a writer and a sailor. That dream wasn’t working, or wasn’t working in a way that helped me follow my true calling. Adventuring is a dream for me, but it’s only secondary.

The next adventure I have planned is building a sustainable homestead and farming my own land. It’s in keeping with my primary values—purity, simplicity—but my main reason for it is that it’s the only way I know how to survive on the $6000 a year I can earn as a writer. That makes me feel disingenuous, like somehow I’m lying when I say I want to build my own house. No. I don’t. Not really. I want to build my own house so I can have space to write and don’t have to pay rent. That’s why I’d be fine in a tent or in a camper, at least for a while, until I write that best-selling novel. Ha. Anywhere I can put up a desk and have a place to dispose of my own waste.

That’s what Casting Off means to me. Read the verse. Cast off everything that so easily entangles. So easily entangles from what? From that bright shining goal, that truth I’ve known about myself since I was three years old. All I do, every moment I spend, is simply to help me find the clarity to become the person I’ve always been. Even if no one cares.

4 comments:

edifice rex said...

Well, I find your writings to be very articulate and thought provoking. I especially enjoyed the posts about Sister Wendy. I used to watch her whenever I could find her show on.
I don't think any truly conscious person ever get to a point where they stop questioning themselves. Nor should they.

Melissa said...

Thanks. Sometimes that's all I need to hear, I guess. I love how honest you allow yourself to be on your blog, and I find it so difficult to claim that kind of honesty for myself.

By the way, any of your neighbors selling any land???

edifice rex said...

Well, geez Melissa, you sound very honest and open to me! I mean, it seems you talk about very personal things here.
Actually, they are selling land here. The man next door, that I got mine from, is willing to sell some and a neighbor across the road has 10 acres for sell. There is quite a bit for sell here.

aclovestrand said...

"The truth is that I am a writer."
Knowing that is half the battle, don't you think? So many of us never even figure out who we are or what our dream is.