22 April 2008

Accelerate, part 2

where is the rip cord, the trap door, the key?

A love of travel isn't the only gift my father gave me.

He also gave me the gift that killed him.

I thought about this, as well, watching the green waves crash upon the shore at Ventana del Mar.

What I am is always with me, but it is the silent undertow, the current that slices underneath the surface. It grabs at me, shakes me, disorients me, tries to drown me. Sometimes my head breaks the waves, and I wonder what did they see? Am I found out? I try to sink back into the water, to find protective coloration, to blend in.

And I always fail, sometimes because I simply can't disguise it or because I refuse to pay the high cost of going to ground.

My father chose to drown himself, to let the differences be too great. I've chosen the shore, to let the differences be. I watch the waves weave themselves into a greater whole, the strands of kelp, the debris and the currents that are the warp and weft of the sea, and I tentatively take up my place in the greater whole. Sometimes, though, fear still gets the better of me.

Yesterday, considering Ian McEwen's novel Atonement (I've just watched the movie; thought it was well done), I was struck again by how much he relies upon the reader to draw conclusions based upon the information given. I like that in a writer; I don't want to be bludgeoned with minutia, told what to think, treated as though I couldn't possibly understand the point.

And I try to do that here as well. I want to create a fabric of words that allows you take something away from here, something that you can determine, a current that may or may not create a ripple in your own life but maybe gives you something to think about. I want it, though, to have a pattern that is meaningful to you. To that end, I can sit here, and I can give you the statistics about myself, the dry and true numbers, accomplishments and accolades, the labels that are attached to me like so many little post-it notes nailed to my skin.

It is what I am.

But it is not me.

Saturday evening, the spouse and I were talking about what I write here, and I laughed ruefully and said, "I try so hard to make myself sound uninteresting."

"No," he corrected. "You camouflage."

Strictly true. But the stories and the conversations tell a greater truth than the statistics, create a stronger thread, a friendlier current, a whole that is even more real. And the deeper part of the pattern, those other threads, are always there; it is the warp and weft of my life. I trust you to see how the pattern has been woven if you choose to do so. And if you don't want to, or see something else, that's good too. Maybe better. Because what I am is only part of the story, a portion of the pattern. I've always known this, but the world wants to give it greater weight, so much more so than I do.

I watch you. I look to see what you read. Those who know me in the real world and who give me feedback add to the pattern that is here, and it becomes a kaleidoscope, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, new to me as well.

But there is a group of you I don't know, who show up regularly, who are a mystery to me. You are tenacious, and I haven't successfully bored you to death yet. Secretly, this pleases me because perhaps you've found something that resonates. Or you like stories of smelly 14-year-old boys and slightly dopey but lovable 11-year-old girls. But I know there is more than that, because I see the threads you pick up, the threads you follow. I wonder what you are thinking and if you know that your presence adds to the pattern as well.

I hold my breath and wait to see what happens next.

Go listen to some good music: "Accelerate" from the album Accelerate by REM.

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