The topo map of my internal creative landscape lately looks a bit like I imagine Kansas - wide, meandering contours, vast empty space, point-less. I am used to inhabiting a creative Colorado, ideas jutting up into my consciousness like the million points of the Rocky Mountains and flowing out here like snow melt. Now I'm down here in the flat lands, trying to herd words uphill. Gravity is not my ally in this effort, when it seems like every helium-filled wisp of idea is encased in concrete boots and ditched somewhere around Byers, Kansas.
I bought a fancy new camera, and suddenly all the simple things I usually train my eye on seemed too banal for this equipment, like driving a new Ferrari down West Colfax, waiting at endless stoplights and passing shuttered motels and used car lots. This is neurotic, for sure, but if I have no pictures and if my ideas have all gotten lost somewhere in the central time zone then this space starts to look a little, er, past its prime.
So in case you have been wondering where I've been lately, think Kansas.
I got lucky this week though, when a close friend pushed this little Buddha of a boy out and into our village. This? This was worth getting the Ferrari out of the garage and racing at top speeds out to the University to witness. We human beings do this everyday, this birthing of new human beings. But damn if this nine-and-a-half pounds of confusion and tiny clenched fists isn't a miracle anyway. He is all fuzzy blond hair and fingernails and soon-to-be-blue eyes that are mostly shut hard because why do you have to keep it so bright out here, people? He is 12 hours old when I meet him and he is full of qi and hungry and smells like the fountain of youth.
The gift of all this for me was that I got to have a point. Milestones, rites of passage, these are obvious signposts that beg us to sit up and notice and freeze them in our hearts and minds. This morning as I write this, the baby boy is five times as old as he was in this picture, so I bet when I see him later he'll have lots of teeth and be cranking The Pixies in his room while he writes algorithms.
This makes me want to take note of things - all kinds of things - before they escape to Kansas, never to be heard from again.
My old friend Larisa told me a few months ago that I should enter a piece of writing into BlogHer's annual Voices of the Year competition, and since I usually do what people I admire tell me to do I dropped this piece into the running in their Identity category. And then because I am afraid to ask people to vote for things, I didn't tell anyone about it. And then I forgot about it.
So you might imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail yesterday saying I had been selected as one of the honorees. There is simply no way to adequately convey my delight at being included in this group of artists and truth-tellers, and more broadly, at having this space to air my joys and struggles and fumbling excursions through the wilderness of my internal creative Rocky Mountains. May a million more points solidify here and in our virtual village at large.