My Inner Worlds
An untitled track in my music library randomly played two mornings ago on my commute to work. These weird songs pre-date my embrace of mp3 players and phones that do everything except brush my teeth before bed. I’d thought my library had been cleared of these lost tracks, those tunes without an identity, no longer allowed to exist in my curated world.
Not to be. The universe pressed play on a dinosaur, and because my habit is to listen to all songs as though they have a personal message for me, I caught the riff in this one. It had an old rock soul, a throaty start to the chorus, and male vocals in the range I find sexy. The universe got my attention for those three minutes, and then I arrived at work and forgot about the pull to my threading heartbeat.
This evening I woke to my house rumbling with thunder, a dog’s scared face pressed to mine, and a phone that told me my husband had just tried to call me. Groggy from my nap, I auto-dialed Matt and knew I had just missed him since he answered immediately. (Matt rarely takes phone calls, so I’m lucky when I reach him.) He started by saying lightning was crackling from the skies at his office, and my brain connected enough to let him know we were getting the thunder from it at our house. We’re sappy like that, linking our worlds together even though we’re apart. He then gently told me that he hadn’t, in fact, called me. Huh. I swear the never-wrong iPhone said otherwise.
By that time, the sexy, throaty riff from earlier this week floated in my still-sleepy brain and distracted me from the mystery of my husband’s non-call. I remembered the unnamed cool song was either Track 09 or Track 06. A search told me Track 09 was definitely not what I was looking for. But 06 hit pay dirt. Like a long-lost lover coming to snuggle in bed, I realized what this tune brought to my unconscious mind—the male protagonist of the story I began creating last fall before my life fell apart. Back when I set a goal to write a novel in nine months, which would have completed just about now.
My baby came home and told me it’s time we start making his story come to life. His words feel so easy, so right. The winter blahs are behind me, and he needs my love and attention. Maybe now he’ll tell me his name and I can stop referring to him as “Protagonist B.”
Postscript: After writing my thoughts above, I searched the lyrics and learned Track 06 is a Foo Fighters song from 2011. While I’m really glad it showed up in my iTunes library, I have no idea how I got it. But to be fair, it does not truly pre-date smart phones OR my digital library. Gonna say it must have come pirated from a friend…or the Universe really did plant it on my hard drive for me to find.
When Hurricane Florence became a real threat to the Carolinas last weekend, I pretended to not care for one whole day. Then a deep-seated panic gripped me, and I joined the throngs at the grocery store to find only empty shelves. We were still over four days from predicted landfall, and supplies had already sold out. I returned to the store every day at different times, buying what little had come in from delivery trucks since my prior scavenging. Were we prepared enough? How could you ever prepare for the unpredictable nature of a storm? Do we need to evacuate? We live in a flood plain and everyone says we should leave, so why doesn’t Matt seem affected? My incredible rock of a husband told me I could lean on him—that we’d be fine. And we are. My fear drained much of my energy this week, and I’ve determined it’s just not worth it to live like this anymore.
For the past four years, I have consciously worked on facing my fears. I stopped writing creatively at that time because a gripping terror waited for me two paragraphs into a new story. In order to embrace my writing, I had to leave it for a while. During this break I’ve used various tools to delve into my psyche to understand why I freeze in terror, like I’m that little girl again who can’t control the dangerous environment she hides within. Each method of self-exploration has been deeper, grittier, and has taken me to places that I couldn’t have touched without the previous tool that got me to the next level. I’ve made phenomenal progress in 2018 with integrating parts of myself that either fractured when I was a young child or that I just couldn’t have reached without doing my inner exploration. So why did I still feel crippling terror this past week even as the sun shone overhead in a clear blue sky?
My friend Sherrie Dillard posted the following on FaceBook two days ago:
I took the invitation and determined I would use Hurricane Florence to overcome this fear of inclement weather and storms. As the hurricane made landfall, a realization came to me that storms are like the void where I create. I’ve panicked for many years when I see that darkness where my writing takes me. It really looks like a void, an emptiness that is actually filled with possibility. The paradox where my creative being yearns to free herself, but my conscious self fears to enter, much less linger and play with the potential that exists there.
Knowing this creative void is truly what I have feared, and not a weather scenario, I hope the next opportunity to experience ice, a flood, or whatever else Mother Nature brings, will find a calmer Me, a more accepting emotional place. Maybe I will learn to channel the ferocity of a storm and weave a beautiful flow of delight and tension into a fictional place where many may find refuge.