Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Ruby SlippersAnd then, there's this.
Two nights in a row. Unable to sleep more than about three hours. I drift off gratefully, sweetly. The blackness of sleep is thick upon me. And then... something happens. The dog, usually. Or something. I wake up, holding onto my dreams, as if they are breadcrumbs leading me back to that promised land. I let the dog out. I let him back in. And then I crawl back into bed.
My mind starts to click off, my body starts to relax. And then...
The stories start. The stories of my life. The schedules and lists, the teeming people, each with their own voice, clamoring for center stage. Snippets of my past, my present, my imagined future drift in and out, a montage of characters and interactions. The consummate rewriter, I work with each little scenario, compulsively. I move someone over to this side of the stage, I change motivations. I see how it plays out this way, then that. Over and over. Until the setting changes and a new scenario begins.
And as I was doing this for the past three hours, for the second night in a row, a few new thoughts started peering out from the wings. Thoughts about actual stories, things I could write. Instead of going down corridors and losing myself in alleyways of the past and present, I found myself transported, briefly, to fictional paths, with new faces and voices and scenes.
I remembered the truth that I came up with a few years ago in the hospital. That there are three main things in life; the three elements that absolutely matter the most. And they have a hierarchy: the body is the most important as, without it, there's not much to work with any more; our friends and family and connections who give us the most amount of happiness and joy, keep us grounded, save us in time of need; and finally, there's art. The consuming and production of it. The art, whether music or theatre or dance or words or crafting cabinetry or painting walls, the art is the thing that ties it all together. The art is the component of meaning. The art transports.
And suddenly I realized, again, that even though life seems very bleak in the dark hours when the veil is thin, the magic of that third element is always with us. Always with me. I can always summon the gods of art and beseech them to bestow their magic once again. The gods are always present and will always serve when called.
The gods, the muses, the art... it's like Dorothy's ruby slippers. Something I forget I have at my command. Something I use functionally, unthinkingly, forgetting its underlying power. And every once in awhile, in a small moment of grace, I remember that there's something else available to me in this world of lists and turmoil and responsibilities. There are those magic slippers. There is the ability to turn to that part of me that creates and say "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 4:59 AM
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