Well, of course, I would quote one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies. That’s Han Solo from the Empire Strikes Back. When I was thirteen years old and seeing it for the first time, that line solidified something in me.
It started my love affair with pushing my boundaries. I’ve jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. I’ve SCUBA dived. I learned how to ride a motorcycle. I’ve traveled to places as diverse as central Asia, South Africa, and Iceland. When I’ve wanted to try something, I’ve taken the risk. I still haven’t bungee-jumped, but I can see that happening when I finally make it to Australia/New Zealand. My point is that when a challenge presents itself, I tend to run towards it.
I grew up sitting in the side car of a motorcycle in the former Soviet Union. But I never learned to ride. A friend suggested I should and lit the match. Absolutely! I would learn to ride and remember the thrill of the wind on my face from when I was a kid.
I learned. I got my M-class motorcycle rider’s license. I bought a motorcycle, an old Honda CM400T. It was a great bike. But I sold it after only a few months. It was like I met the challenge, and I was done with that phase. I will ride again when I can afford a Zero electric motorcycle, but I imagine it will be a while.
That time of my life got me to thinking. What is it about me that needs the challenge? Why do I so often run towards a new challenge yet once I achieve it, it loses its immediacy, its sparkle. I love SCUBA diving, and yet I haven’t been in years. Skydiving was amazing, yet I don’t have a burning drive to do it again. It is like once I achieve some level of mastery, I want to move on to the next exciting thing. Am I an adrenaline junkie? I don’t think so. Perhaps, I like the act of learning, the process of figuring out what I need to do to make things work. And once I have them working, they lose their luster no matter how hard the work or how long the odds.
Most of the work I have done in my life has been on tasks that were initially way beyond my capabilities. I have risen to every challenge and thrilled in doing so. And, even with work, once I meet the challenge, I tend to move on to the next thing.
The only place that doesn’t occur is with writing. I remain terrified/excited to write each new word. Every time I sit down to tell a tale, I am nervous. I am afraid the vibrant story I see inside my head will drop onto the page with a dull thud. I fear it will have no resemblance to the incredible journey I envisioned. And yet, I keep at it. I write every day. I tell the stories. And I tell them everywhere to anyone who will listen. And I tell them with my books, my readings, and my earth science teaching. Why? I think it is because I can’t help it.
The tales must emerge and be part of the world. I am not certain how much it matters whether or not they are a success. I think it matters that I defy the odds that they won’t be and keep telling them anyway.
Writing, creating, making art is a courageous act. I believe every single one of us has that courage and that desire inside us. It doesn’t matter what form the art takes. Art, I believe, can be found in paint, words, boxes of wood with strings attached, long brass cylinders with holes in them, or numbers. The medium doesn’t matter nearly as much as the message. We are all meant to be creative beings. We are all meant to defy the odds.
Let’s make some art!
Sending you all my love.