Last year I gave my cousin, a close friend and advisor, a golden next with three glass eggs. I felt like one of the many things we both had in common was that we were waiting for a grandchild. She is waiting for her first and I am waiting for our second, a granddaughter who will arrive in March, just two months ahead of her grandson. So this fall I put the image at the left into print. It is called WAITING, for while it is our children and their spouses waiting to see what this new nest will hold, we are waiting as well. We can't quite picture the changes that this new arrival will bring to our lives and to theirs. It is a time of anticipation and my tendency is to focus so much on the next big event I forget to look at all of the things unfolding around me.
So as I wind up a year of new experiences that have hatched for me, I am mostly grateful for all the things that happened while I was waiting for what I thought would be big roadmarks in my life. Some of those eggs have been sitting in my nest for a long time...so long that I thought they would never hatch. A visiting professorship at Hollins University, art shows in Homer and Anchorage Alaska, joining a gallery in Sebastopol, finishing manuscripts and my new book, PAINTING THE SKY, and more study of cave paintings. But the egg that has finally hatched is something more personal. The realization that this year is a year of becoming stronger with other people. Giving credence to my own direction. In the meantime my children and my grandson are the most signigicant stories in my year.
This year reminds me of some of the books that I started to write and a great book for writers that my son gave my called The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo. It says to start writing and write till the subject becomes the background, the story beneath the intitial zing that got your started writing the story or poem in the firs place. The initial subject that your are writing about needs to be written about until it becomes background for the true essence of the story....the egg that is waiting to hatch.
So while we look at eggs in a nest with a great sense of wonder, or an idea for a story, or a list of what we think will be our next great accomplishment or adventure, we need to remember that they are only shells that hold something deeper inside, something that is waiting to fly free when it is time. Our job is to write, to create, to live our surface story of acheivements until we find out that something more than we were imagining on the surface has come to life.
If life were a novel we would find out that while we were living above the plot line with all of our actions, something deeper and more meaningful was developing below the plot line with all of our characters.
For those of you that are writers, or people who are waiting to see where the next idea or event is going, give yourself a gift this year. Here are some suggestions. THE TRIGGERING TOWN by Richard Hugo, ON WRITING by Stephen King, WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Dennis Palumbo, THE SPYING HEART by Katherine Paterson. I am taking them off the shelf to reread them as my Christmas gift.