Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Redeemers closes Sunday evening, the second-to-last thing I’ll have written this year to appear onstage in front of audience. (The last will be a 7-minute piece based on the word “GIVE,” going up against a 7-minute piece based on the word “RECEIVE”, at next Tuesday’s Write Club). Counting the short pieces I wrote for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, there were nearly 40 separate projects this year, of varying form and length, with my name somewhere upon them, placed somewhere that people could experience them.
The declaration still remains lodged in my throat, hesitant and uncertain. Ruh-ruh-Writer. I grasp authority on the subject with tenuous, fish-oiled fingers, comfortable in my skin only when I avoid mirrors. Somewhere over my shoulder I expect the laughter of those who know better, the bitter lashes of the word fraud striping my skin.
I hold myself back. I speak less than I should and with less confidence than I have at my disposal. I gamble professionally with my own identity, laying down small stakes for years and then using the small stakes to keep the tent planted firmly in one place. Outside the tent are ice bridges and avalanches, oh my, oh dear, oh no. You may continue on up to the peak if you wish. I’m fine right here.
But then again: Why come to the mountain at all, if one was only planning to stay at the Base Camp?
I am slow to perceive my own change. Existing as I do, as most do, in perfect synchronicity with self, I often fail to comprehend my own evolution. When I look at myself, I only see Now. I understand that Me Now is not the same as Me Then but I find it hard to articulate exactly how that is. I know that I have learned things but these things I have learned have woven themselves into the fabric, have become muscle memory and autonomous function. When I try to teach others the things I have learned I find my body tensing as it tries to impart the knowledge through some form of primal dance, and my heart flutters in slight disappointment as I realize I must instead attempt the inadequacy of language.
I am excavating myself, kicking and screaming. I am bringing to the surface that part of myself that willingly admits who I am. I will rip it from its shelter and pull it up to the edge of the atmosphere. I will show that part of myself the sunlight and make it understand that the treachery of the climb was worth the majesty of the summit. And then it, and then he, and then I, will meld into one thing, will be absorbed by the face of the rock.
I will forget that I was ever a thing unable to be myself. I will shed Then and be Now. The things I’ve had to learn will be the things I simply know.
And when I descend from the cold, thin air, when I pack up the supplies, I will bring the mountain down with me.