My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have perhaps six months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Unguarded Heart

I'm recalling one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare:  "Love all, trust a few, do harm to none."

I do well with the first and the third of his mandates, but I have failed in trusting only a few.

Particularly during periods of time when I'm writing, my barriers toward the world diminish.  I greet friends, new and old, with an open, unguarded heart -- ready to find kindness and integrity in all who surround me.  Because in nurturing the writing mind, I find I must drink in all the earth has to offer -- the way the doves circle the trees every morning in their folding white clouds, hushed and mesmerizing -- the way the tide comes in, languorously, one murmurous wave after another -- the way the leaves fall off the oaks -- giving up their pieces of gold, singly, haltingly -- and then all at once in an extravagant love affair with the wind.  But I've trusted too freely at times, and I don't know whether I'm capable of changing.

Confucius wrote, "It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them."  So perhaps trust, while entirely naive, is not such an indelible fault.

Recently, my friends went on the offensive when they felt I had been ill-treated by an acquaintance.  But I begged them to retreat.  I'm not impervious to betrayal, by any means, but somehow, my spirit is undiminished.  It's a remarkable thing to be so well-loved by my circle that I'm protected from my own vulnerabilities.  The candle lights the fortress, and the fortress fights the wind.  Thank you, dear friends.  Your abundant kindness, your fierce loyalty -- they shield me from the elements.  And the light that illuminates my work, my breath, the substance of my hours -- it shines brighter still.