Preparing for a road trip last weekend, I gathered some books to read in the car and came across one called When I’m Big, by Debi Gliori. It is the story of a little boy who is dreaming of all the things he would do when he’s older. One page depicts these big, beautiful, stylized whales with the little boy snorkeling in their midst saying “I’m going swimming with the whales in the deep blue sea instead of splashing in the bathtub.”
As I read that line, I realized this fearlessness represents the spirit of most children. Somehow that vibrancy tends to leave us when we become adults. We decide to play only in the shallow end. And if we do venture out too far and we are unsuccessful, we vow never to go out quite that far again. When I look at my little one, I see she has the personality of “why not?” in her. And for some things, I have to rein that in, like in issues pertaining to safety. But in many instances the exploration is where the meat of life in all its juiciness occurs.
I see that when it comes to other creative endeavors OUTSIDE OF WRITING, I treat it as an “all or nothing” transaction. Like so many other ventures in my life, I have a zealous beginning followed by a drastic ending with the hindsight of what the hell was that. What I am finding though is that the creative process entails in large part growing into yourself and finding how your unique self is able to express most freely. And then as I drift back to my home base — writing — I find MORE strength to push back into uncharted waters and maybe just see — IF I CHOOSE TO.
So the paints and the “good paper” are out again. Colors of red and green and blue and all the mixtures in between are falling together boldy. And I am swimming toward the deep end.