Last Orders: What (Will) be Achieved? Quest 2016

Old writer who ‘straddles’ decides to write, and not dismount.

Quest2016 Finishing Line? Let’s pretend.

Imagine yourself on a specific day late in 2016. You reside in a comfortable place where you can reflect on your wondrous best self’s year. You’ve engaged in Symphonic Activities this year. You’ve been a Dextrous Creative engaged with key challenges and obstacles this year. And you’ve applied Rhythmic Creative Actions day after to help make your vision happen.

Tall Order! ‘wondrous, dextrous, Symphonic, best self’! I confess that makes me quail!

 Okay I’ll play that hand you dealt.

Terrace
Terrace in September/October

 Let’s set it in September, and late sunlight on my terrace. It requires some stretched imagination from where I am standing. Where I’m standing is devoid of confidence, with little belief in energy to play symphonic anything. Let that go. I find myself with a new book published, perhaps the novel, perhaps a collection of short stories that highlight the gulf between New World and Old World characters and the lives they live; exposing assumptions that the natives never question. Somehow there is a modest group anxious to read it.

 How they sidled in I have no idea, but I get enthusiastic cheer-leading, and emails of appreciation. My republished book of poetic narrative has somehow happened and seems to be garnering readers who listen to my short readings (those have mastered recording and editing!) and ask for more of them. I am not making money but I am no longer losing it, and I have (blissfully) stopped listening to marketing ‘Webinars’ The very word has been forgotten. ( While I think of it I have had a successful campaign banning all hybrid words like webinar and authorpreneur that should find no place in literary circles!) I am reconciled to modest support, but that has enabled me to go on writing for myself. I am part way through a memoir and it is going well.

But you haven’t done it alone. Why would you?

Imagine yourself as part of a Creative Pack. How does your body and mind and heart feel to be part of this pack? How is your best self engaged and respected? How has your best self grown as a result? How has at least one of your Creative Packs been instrumental in the success of your Symphonic Activities this year.

 Much more difficult to conceive. My books are about ideas. That’s all. No ‘how to’s, no lists, no ‘methods’ no benefits beyond ideas. I am viscerally averse to any kind of proselytizing because essentially I believe people find what they need, and who am I to say they need what I am about. This is my greatest impediment to pack formation! The only ‘Pack’ would arise because others did find such ideas transformative. I have a few who loyally support me, but even they admit I am a hard sell. No series, no hooks, no romance. Who I am and what I’m about is not easy, especially not for me!

Who has been a key player in your Smooth Running Pack? Your Nourish Pack? Your Wild Pack?

 Since this is an imaginative exercise I’ll let rip on the impossible. I have found a publisher who believes in me and puts real energy into helping me help myself. Dream on! But my husband who never wavers in support and eats indifferent food without complaint is still alive! My daughter still reads and critiques everything I write, and boosts me daily. That happens now and will continue. More I do not risk asking for.

I have met a couple of wild pack wolves who seem inclined to understand, and growl at all attackers on my behalf for there are a few of those. I have learned not to mind the suggestions that ‘if only you wrote…..’(fill in as appropriate) The ladybirds still land daily on my keyboard to encourage when I’m stuck. My symphony is scored for solo flute, cello and violin and can be played without great resources or space.

I have been through Artmark and extracted something that binds it all together, self acceptance, and a way to straddle with dignity. Straddle is an undignified skill and it is the only one I claim. It began on a horse at six, and seemed to set the psychological position, foot in both camps but never on a fence. The only essence in everything I write about, think about, is an ability to reconcile, and see both sides. But in September 2016 I have learned, at last, to do it for myself! I have accepted solitude as the basis for occasional interruption, and keep a fire burning and Prosecco in the fridge.

Impromptu Orchestration
My barn again in use- by friends.

How have you reached out through friendships, social media, and conferences to do so?

 I have tamed the belief that social media are an answer in themselves. I have interacted with those with whom I sense a kindred and spontaneous warmth, but learned to limit the time spent browsing or anticipating reciprocity. I have learned to respect the liberty of others to be indifferent, or simply busy, by getting busy too.

What key attitudes and principles guided you as you formed, grew, or changed your Packs?

 To simply be grateful for what was genuine exchange. I will be happy with a few friends where friendship is the mark of shared interests or enthusiasms. Numbers will never be important, nor strategies where numbers are the goal. My attitude will get closer to accepting my age rather than defying it, and accepting that not everybody wants to be ‘challenged’ or concentrate for more than eight minutes, so I will offer snacks when appropriate.

Tempering Quest2016

Imagine yourself in the same place on the same day in late 2016. What was one of your greatest challenges or perceived obstacles in immersing in your Symphonic Activity this year?

No grail, no sword in stone, no clear path ahead. My dogged Quest has been mired in indecision. The final prompts to imagine the ‘Symphonic Creation’ that would raise the baton on January 1st has been met with silence. The orchestra is on strike, the chairs empty.

Why? When I thought I was doing so well-well… well enough. ( All the staging posts on Quest 2016- and work backwards) can be seen on my Odyssey site- since it seemed appropriate) This is more relevant to the journeys of others.

I wondered whether it was a wise reluctance to commit to what deep down I suspected might fail; or whether I had met a roadblock in all that collective resolve. My fellow travelers are conjuring up stunning websites, (that define them as a ‘brand- without doubt’) venturing onto ‘Departments of Hope’, holding joyful retreats on the sandy shores where sun shines. I truly envy this bright youth and wish them well. I truly do.Yet the belief that we create our reality might be tempered ( and legitimately) by age, fatigue, and having already created a ‘Symphonic Treatise’, the Book-That-Wrote-The- Life, and maybe I would be wise to pack it in, and set about clearing out the ‘might-be-useful-one-day’ both practically and metaphorically.

Brueghel_the_Younger_-_Proverbs_(detail)_-_WGA03630

Rather than ask you to pick over half written plays, memoirs fading like dye in water, stories needing a quick burnish I am going to tell you why I only partly believe in the ‘create your own reality’ adage. This decision was prompted by a post on Synchronicity in which the writer, Viv Tuffnell, recounted something that seemed to validate her decision to leave the road more travelled, for the one less travelled, only to find a clear and explicit encouragement to keep going. I have linked to it in the post below.

Now, about roads utterly un-travelled I know quite a lot, and about synchronicities that accompany them. When I was deemed mad I understood that I looked as mad as any March hare. I knew I wasn’t but I did not blame those who thought I was. I had departed the shores of time and matter in which synchronicity only peeked like occasional violets through the stones of seasonal tramping and set full sail into the field of instantaneity, and reading thought before given words to wing it. Thought was event. A question that arose in the mind was answered immediately. There was only Now. Time and causality were a collective idea of partial understanding, created by the belief that matter was separate from consciousness. Hence the delays between them.

When you live in Now, what you understand is that Time is a kind of blindfold. It protects us from the consequences of thought, since we are not always in control of thought, it is a filter by which consequences can be assigned to others, the ‘field’, and we can be blithe, and semi-irresponsible. Without that you are naked as a babe breasting a drowning sea. To stay afloat I had to dance, and if you dance in the streets of London ( and you don’t carry leaflets for a vaudeville) you are clearly mad.

Why did I have to dance? To shut out the horror of ungoverned thought, the judgements , the hatred, the competitive, the ridicule, the savage glances, as easy to read as a billboard. Humanity exposed for what it is. In such a state it looked like a Goya painting or a Bruegel. Would you not shut it out? Is that insane? Nobody asked for an explanation and Bruegel wore a white coat.

Goya Cabezas_en_un_paisaje

Why am I telling you this? Because the ‘Power ( and peril) of Now’ or the episodes of synchronicity are believed to be a kind of ‘messaging’ that speaks to those ready for them, as though aligning right thought will bring the rewards that affirm it, a safe pointing finger. This new-age philosophy of ‘make your reality’ fails to take account of the ballast provided by other weighty contributors of unconsciousness and worse. This belief emphasizes an old/new virtue still governed by intention and will, whereas I know that letting go of intention and will and swimming in a tempestuous sea changes every moment of now. Events reflect the field of consciousness. Alive to the field, reading events is more a matter of integrating an ability to swim in a rolling tide, and avoid the rocks you can clearly see, or rest upon them. They do not sink below the surface or melt; they were not your creation.

If I have a quarrel with this belief in an imagined reality brought into being by a vivid application of focused intent, it is not that I believe it erroneous, but rather that it fails to understand that we are the recipients of a field, receivers as much as creators. Weaving a path needs to take account of that. We might be able to take the reins of ourselves, but the landscape has contours that shapes out path. The destination changes every moment.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Cabezas en un paisaje” by Francisco Goya – http://www.elangelcaido.org/creacion/200412/200412cabezas.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cabezas_en_un_paisaje.jpg#/media/File:Cabezas_en_un_paisaje.jpg