Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Courage on the Hill

Early one morning in California, with our body-clocks on east coast time and the rest of the household still sleeping, my brother A~ and I decided to go for a jog in nearby Griffith Park. We ran uphill on progressively steeper and narrower dirt trails. Finally, sweaty and breathing hard, we found ourselves standing at a peak overlooking the park and the mist-enshrouded city. In spite of the gnats weaving around our faces, we took a moment of silent appreciation and meditation.

Dear Hollywood, I found myself thinking, I have something to offer, and I'd like to give it, to have it received. I was thinking of my writing, my art, my message. I want to delight people with my vision, challenge them with my experience, and inspire them to take risks, to live fully, and creatively. I'm so embarrassed writing this, but in interest of full disclosure, I'll admit it, in all it's corny glory: There I was. Yet another soul in Hollywood, longing for an audience.

When reaching out prayerfully from a meditative state, my monologue often becomes a dialogue. So it was no surprise that a voice bubbled up from inside, though the question it asked did throw me for a loop. Which do you want more, it said, an audience or a child?

There was no easy answer. As much as I want to be a mother, I have wanted to be an artist and writer far more fervently for a much longer time. As always, I write, I make art, but I hold it very close. I don't put it out into the world as much as I could. This blog is an exception, and a huge step for me. But it's not enough, and I knew it suddenly more than ever, as I stood on that Hollywood hill, that I could not feel fulfilled if I didn't put my work out there much much more. This requires time and discipline.

But I also very much want to be a mother, which, undeniably, requires tremendous energy and focus. Can't I do both?

The internal voice turned the question back on me. Can you?

I didn't know. I would need to think about it. As my brother and I walked down the path, we discussed our reflections. (He had spent his moment of silence praying for our brother, D~, due to graduate into a great deal of debt and uncertainty later that day, which of course, put me to shame for being so self-involved.) First, we had a long talk about D~, whom we concluded is on a positive path, humble and ambitious at the same time, both romantically and professionally.

When I told him about my thoughts, it occurred to me that my art and writing are like children to me, and that I need to set them free in the world. The time and discipline this will require is nothing compared to what it will take in terms of courage. I want to be an artist and writer. I want to have a child.

I want, and intend, God or Hollywood permitting, to do both. I know this solidly now. It's time for me to get to work.

(ps. The painting is mine. It's called Village, and it's gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper, circa 2004)


mal said...

I love the watercolor *S*

I grew up in So Cal and this time of the year is probably the most unique in the country with the morning marine layer. running thru Griffith with the Eucalyptus and Pepper trees only adds to the experience.

Enjoy your trip

Anonymous said...

That painting is gorgeous. I love it.


Anonymous said...

Amy, It's your cousin G~.

I've never posted to your blogs so I figured I would take the moment to let you know that you can have both. You know that I do my art freelance and take care of my little A~ at the same time. It is fulfilling and also stressful at times, but it is nice knowing that I didn't have to give up one of my "children" in order to have one. Love you!


Amy said...

thanks for the compliments mallory and mousey, and the vote of confidence, G~. You are definitely a role model here!

Anonymous said...

I was afraid, when I became a mother, that I would somehow lose a part of me -- that I wouldn't be able to do the things I want, that my *self* would be fundamentally changed in a scary way. Not so, not so at all -- I'm the same me, enhanced with this new identity. I do the same things, have the same aspirations, and have the same talents. I can't be as spontaneous, and my time isn't always mine, which means some things may take me longer -- but those are small sacrifices in the grand scheme of things.