The other day, Tuesday to be exact, I drove four hours up I-5 from southern Oregon to Portland. I cried off and on the whole way. I’d attended a beautiful wedding and hung with friends I don’t see often. I’d inhaled clean air tinged with the dried-grass scent of my California homeland, a scent that always makes my soul sigh. I’d spent two days on my own in a cute B&B, in a cute historic town, writing and catching up on sleep. I should have been content…
Instead, I cried. Not the sweet tears of release. This was an inner crumpling. When I checked myself in the rearview mirror, my face sagged in places I didn’t know were possible.
I called S. I didn’t care that I was driving illegally, sans Bluetooth, at 80 m.p.h. while holding my cell phone with one hand. S is a wise person, and her analogy about the river was spot-on. I realized that in a commitment-phobic life, I’d committed to my dream – and I was scared shitless. (Are we allowed to swear on this blog? Hmm…I’d better check the debutante rule book.)
This is the River of Life, and it’s a fact of life that sometimes — if we’re doing it right — it’s scary. For me, this river is floating me toward a more public life than I’m comfortable with, toward the word “author” with its responsibilities. Writing more books after KILMOON. Reaching out to readers. Always, forevermore, keeping up on social media and being “visible.” For the first time in my life I am putting myself irrevocably out there in a way that’s going to make my life more complex. So, yeah, I’m scared shitless, and I will swear about it. (I do have a potty mouth, just sayin’.)
River guides say that if you fall out of your raft, you’re supposed to lie on your back with feet downriver. Don’t struggle. Let the river take you until helping hands pull you back onto the raft.
After my talk with S, I realized that I have plenty of helping hands in my life. All I need to do is reach out when I fall off the raft.