Last Night I Dreamed of Russian Soldiers
They were wounded, many hundred of them, as they tried to cross a frozen river. An unknown adversary—the one that had wounded the oncoming soldiers as they marched over the ice—found a way to make the ice start to shift, melt, crack and drift. The soldiers collapsed on the crumpling surface, feeling the water start to seep, frigid and ruthless, into their heavy wool coats, the same wool coats that would certainly be dragging them to the bottom of the river. They moaned together, hurt and frightened, and too exhausted to fight for their lives. I watched them slowly sink as the ice shattered, and they slipped under the broken water.
Where I’ve Been and What I’ve Done
I’ve been hiding, mostly, and from most things, but mostly (so mostly) from myself. I’ve been hiding from myself the knowing that my creative block comes not from post-academic fatigue, but from the disempowering and/or grandiose stories (read: untruths) that I’ve been telling myself since I was about twelve years old.
I’ve not gone anywhere, except to hide even deeper, alone in my car, racing through the desert with music and my thoughts blaring, but reduced to a small speck in the vast swoop and silence of the Great Basin floor. Gliding over the remains of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan, I discovered inside me an entire Universe.
So I set about to plunder it.
I dug and I dug, each time deeper into the hurt surrounding my core, learning more about myself each time, coming back up from each deep dive stronger than before.
Stronger, but still unable to write.
…Or, at least, unable to write the things I wanted to write.
I have remained in this stage for four and a half years now: perpetually aroused to write, and write well, about—as Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset would say—“myself and my circumstance,” and failing to produce anything worthwhile, let alone complete.
And this has been my daily struggle: applying the force of will and the thrum of passion to try and shatter the obsidian wedge—enormous—between me and my creative calling. I have had plenty of energy, but of the kind that any object has when it is positioned at the edge of an abyss: potential energy.
Now that I am producing, I have to wonder: Have I finally fallen into the abyss?
If so, then I finally have momentum, at least until I reach the bottom, if an abyss actually has a bottom. All I know is that I am moving, things are happening, the ice is cracking. I wonder if I will drown.
It seems more likely, though, that I will float.
Today’s Step Forward
I drew these three tarot* cards today before writing this piece. The Chariot (Past): Force of will, passion, forward motion. The Empress (Present): Fertility, abundance, creativity. The Sun (Future): Joy, enlightenment, inner child.
I think that what I am supposed to hear is that my long struggle to express myself, all the hard work that I put into understanding and knowing and fighting my Block, is starting to demonstrate its worth. I am entering a period of abundant creativity, and I hope not to squander it.
But whatever I choose to do, in the end, happiness will come if I walk myself back into my past, to the things that brought me happiness when I was a child, and re-encounter them, repurpose those delights for my adult life.
And so what now?
Well, now I go have a chat with my inner child, see what she feels like doing today. My guess is that she is going to feel like talking, and all I need to do is jot down whatever it is that she has to say.
And that will require some courage. Let’s be on with it.
* The cards in the photograph are from The Wanderer’s Tarot (Solar) by Casey Zabala.