I’ll be honest about this “writing project”. Even I’m boring myself with these journal entries so far and I don’t really enjoy being the main character of my musings. I’m as human as anyone else. I have my highs and lows, my hopes and struggles. If there is anything unique about my journey, it might be my authentic and ever evolving to spiritual devotion/seeking, even in spite of all my vices and the occassional reckless outbursts of ego. That aspect of my life may have once been but a juvenile identity I latched onto so I could feel special and self important, but truly over the years through the time I’ve been able to spend with her holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi, through my empassioned study of Hindu scriptures, and through the continued practice of meditation and yoga for three decades, my identity as a devoted and practicing Hindu has evolved from youthful vanity to seasoned reality. But to be honest, there’s not much to write about in that regard, and I don’t really care to sensationalize what is in essence, the quest for the complete cessation of all thought and worldy ambition. What does a himalayan yogi have to write about from his cave? “Today I listened to moisture drip as I centered my mind, brought all mental restlessness to quiescence, and dissolved all sense of separate self into the totality of being”. Even a yogi’s perceptions as he wanders through the world are rather grim: “Amongst the crowds today I saw countless people chasing vain illusions of happiness, as if on autopilot, caught in the nauseating and ceaseless narratives of an ego doing everything it can to avoid the realization of its fundamental error and non-existence as it circles the abyss. I felt I was the only one even partially awake amidst legions of somnabulists trapped in an exponentially complexifying nightmare.”
So why do I even speak of or express an interest in writing? As much as I believe in the magic and power of music, I also believe in the magic and power of literature, and as deeply as my life has been touched by the former, it has also been shaped by the latter. And all my life I’ve had this nagging feeling that writing is part of my destiny and that my life’s work will not be complete until I offer some works of literary relevance. The problem is, I haven’t written shit thus far other than poems, songs, social media rants, and a couple controversial blog posts, and that just won’t fulfill this inner calling. I want to write fiction. I feel I have the innate capacity, but like anything, it takes years of practice and honing the craft, and I just can’t seem to get started. I challenge myself to these little writing projects in hopes that they will magically gestate the beginnings of my literary journey, but so far I haven’t been able to unstuck from basic journaling and social commentary. So it’s time to get creative and just push myself off from shore and see what happens. From here forward while I’m in Florida, I hope to shift things up a little. Instead of journal entries, I want to focus on little vignettes, slices of my experienece, fictionalizing and romanticizing the things I see and finding little backstories and conflicts for, say, the campers across from me, the waitress at the crab shack, or the family staying at the beach resort. I may just set a scene but not provide any action. One way or another, I have to shift the focus off myself and onto CHARACTERS and storylines.
Doing so might be a little embarrasing. I feel like a music lover sitting at a piano, with zero experience of actually playing the damn thing. Yet I yearn to make music, and I feel the only way I’m ever gonna do it, is if I just put myself out there, toss myself in the deep water, and hope to God I find a way to swim. Excuse the mixed metaphor. As I just confessed, I have plenty of work to do in becoming a good writer. But at least I’ll find the courage and discipline to try. I feel an inner calling that I just can’t deny.
For whatever it’s worth, Edward Abbey is my current totem for excellence in fiction. He’s my inspiration/hero. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the Edward Abbey that wrote the eco-conscious, nonfiction work, “Desert Solitaire”. I’m talking about the other side of the self-same man, the Edward Abbey that wrote “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, “Heyduke Lives”, “The Fools Progress”, “The Brave Cowboy”, and “Black Sun”. I adore the honesty, insight, and fearlessness of his prose. He would ABSOLUTELY be cancelled if he was still around today. He pulls no punches and is not shy to offend, yet his work is still full of lightness, love, humor, humanity despite his natural cynicism. He paints a world that I love to inhabit. It’s a honest world, more real to me than so called “reality”. If I could only offer the something similar to humankind, I feel would life would be complete.