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)