Thursday, July 31, 2008
I wonder when it is that our passion in life is indelibly imprinted upon us.
For me, I was seven or eight years old when I'd moved beyond "lady police officer" and "lawyer" as a chosen field (me and the law in my early years--I had a sense of fairness that seems to have slipped somewhat as I grow older) and decided this elusive title of "writer" was what I wanted for myself.
Now I sit and read novels, the smooth covers a comfort in my hands, and I think about the younger characters, their dreams.
I've thought a lot about this crossroads, so much that I'm sure everyone else is sick of reading about it--the word risk something obnoxious, to shrug at. (Here she goes again...) I confess I wonder if I've made the right choice in returning to school, but this little whispering isn't near the truth at all. My whole being knows it is the right choice; it's simply my own nervousness at the opinions of those around me that keeps me saying, "Oh, yes, the security, and oh, yes, retirement..." I don't mention the hot shame I might feel if I betrayed that large part of myself that has existed for twenty years now.
One day, I want to paint poems on converted barns. My own words, etched up permanently somewhere. I've always wanted that for myself. Not just the peace and joy that is the simple method of writing, but to have some measure of success with it. And certainly I'll never mean money in regards to success, since a poet rarely sees that sort of compensation. Instead, something that shows I belong somehow, that maybe these next three years are worth it for all the ones who are secret nay-sayers (oh blessed am I; while I do know about a few in secret, as we can't keep secrets these days, no one has openly proclaimed their thoughts as to the ridiculousness of this venture).
I want to stop telling people I'm getting a degree in poetry and say it in that voice, laugh it off, afraid already of what they might be thinking. Normal people don't do this. It's as if I'm trying to excuse myself before the opinion can be formed; I will tease myself about how I know this isn't career-advancing. (Ah, so what will you do with it after, then?) So much wincing.
My skin has never been terribly thick, no matter how much I may practice with heart bare to the elements. I need to keep remembering how important it is to do these things for ourselves. One day I'll have children, I hope, and I know much of my life will then be about sacrificing for them, and I will do so willingly, happily, but I also know I have to live a life of example. And I want my children to learn to take risks, to chase after those terrifyingly elusive dreams. It's only then that they'll have the chance to catch them.