Weekly Writing Challenge: BUILD YOUR OWN

From WordPress’s Writing Challenge this week:

[W]e’ll provide options for two key elements of your post — the setting and the opening line — and you’ll choose the ones you’d like to work with. Then, you can write any type of post, in any style or genre (fiction, nonfiction, poem, multimedia story) as long as you stick with these two details…

*

In my dreams, I envision a place.

I can’t specify any more than that – mainly because it changes in my mind all the time.

Sometimes it looks like this:

(Image courtesy of Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post)
(Image courtesy of Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post)

Which is just fine because this is a beautiful scene. I love everything about it: the color of the water, the rough rocks, the dark sky. There’s a sense of energy, but also, simultaneously, of peacefulness. I like that mix.

So sometimes – often even – these elements are enough. The aesthetic beauty…the potential for life and vigor. These are things I want. These are things I need.

But sometimes the scene changes.

I change.

*

Imagine the water here lit by bioluminescent phytoplankton. Because, in my mind’s eye, it looks like that sometimes. And it’s AMAZING.

*

Or imagine the sky lit by a million vivid stars.

Because it looks like that sometimes too. And, dreaming of that, I feel like I’ve found home.

*

Imagine that just beyond the edges of the frame above is a dark expanse of endless ocean. You’re standing at the edge, in a spot that’s more dimly lit than what you see here. It’s down the way, just a little bit.

And you’re standing there, alone….but not alone, because you have yourself. And in that moment, that’s all you need.

So you stand there, and you listen to the sound of the waves crashing, the water splashing – and it thrills you a little bit and lulls you at the same time. You’re connected to something primitive and essential and you feel this somewhere deep inside of yourself. It roots you and steadies you and, as you’re drawn deeper into the moment, it fills you – all the holes you have inside that you’re only dimly conscious of as you move through your daily life.

You know in the thinking part of you that there are things you want to achieve, there are ambitions yet to be filled. You know that life waits for you, with its relentless pace. People need things from you – people you care about and people you don’t. And most of this is fine with you – mostly fine. You’re not necessarily looking for escape. Not permanent escape.

It’s just…in that moment, as you stand there looking out and listening, all that exists is you and the waves and the air and the sky.  Peace. And you want that too – as much as you want to move and be and achieve.

The place is like that sometimes.

*

And other times? Other times what’s just beyond the edges of the frame above isn’t the ocean – or not only that. It’s a group of friends – really good friends. The kind you don’t have to censor yourself with. The kind you laugh with – with your whole self, unselfconsciously. The kind you jump into the water with and splash around wtih like an idiot. Because it’s fun.

They’re the kind of friends you play with – in the simplest, happiest sense. Like when you were a kid and you found no reason not to immerse yourself in the joy of moving your body and giggling..because you were alive and the opportunity was there, and you could.

The place is like that sometimes too.

*

I think this place has to exist…this changeable place that I don’t so much see in my head as feel inside of me somehow.

I believe this because I get glimpses of it sometimes.

It's there, a little bit, in the surprise of spring green grass on a cloudy day.
It’s there, a little bit, in the surprise of spring green grass on a cloudy day.
Or in the sudden appearance of fairy toadstools in a hidden corner of my parents' backyard.
And it’s there in the sudden appearance of fairy toadstools in a hidden corner of my parents’ backyard.
It's there when I'm hanging out with my brother and we happen to glance down and simultaneously realize that the bricks beneath our feet look kind of cool.
It’s there when I’m hanging out with my brother and we happen to glance down and simultaneously realize that the bricks beneath our feet look kind of cool.
It's there when my son, with much more than a seven-year-old's patience, stops what he's doing for the hundredth time that day because Mommy is still learning how to adjust her camera on the fly and so can't take a quick picture. He looks up when I ask him to, just like I want him to...and the picture comes out GREAT!!
And it’s there when my son, with much more than a seven-year-old’s patience – pauses what he’s doing for the hundredth time that day because Mommy is still learning how to adjust her camera on the fly and so can’t take a quick picture. He looks up when I ask him to, just exactly like I want him to…and the picture comes out GREAT!!
And it's there when his five-year-old sister spontaneously decides to pose with her stuffed lemur on her head. (I don't know why, but I love it!)
It’s there when his five-year-old sister for reasons unknown decides to put her stuffed lemur on her head. (Maybe it’s because this is so quintessentially HER…but I love this shot!)
It's there when the sky surprises you and comes down to earth to sit on the surface of a pond.
It’s most definitely there when the sky unexpectedly comes down to earth to sit on the surface of a pond – and the ordinary disappears into something beautifully surreal.

It’s magic I’m looking for, I guess.

*

And I want to be immersed in this magic…surrounded by it, consumed by it. I’m not thinking small-time here. Thinking small has never really been a problem of mine – but this is one area where I’m giving full rein to my fancy.

I want to believe that there are beautiful, amazing things in the world – and I want to be a part of those things. I want to immerse in them. I don’t want mundane, I don’t want dull. I want depth and layers. I want the vivid, the rich, the full. I want passion and life and feeling.

I want to know that a life comprised of these things is possible. I want to know that it’s not too much to ask.

*

So, how do you find this place…this “magical” place, where all is possible?

That’s the real question, isn’t it? There are stumbling blocks, potholes, everywhere…just all over the place. Landmines once in a while. If you can accept the fact that you’re on the way to something (that place in the first picture, say, or any of its variants), if you can take that leap of faith…well, then what?? How are you supposed to navigate?

*

That’s the real question – and I’m not sure there’s an answer for it. Not a straightforward one anyway. It’s not like there’s a map! It’s not one finite place, after all.

*

I think maybe the answer truly lies in little things: in the spring greens and the fairy toadstools. In the ground beneath your feet and the sky above your head. In kids – with their openness and curiosity (better models for living life than most grown-ups I know.) These maybe are signposts, I think. They show up here and there to remind you not to give up hope.

And, I think, above all else, that you need to keep your eyes open. Because if you close your eyes, or put blinders on, or allow yourself to operate on autopilot, you’ll almost certainly lose your way.

*

So that’s my goal: to keep my eyes open. To try to be aware. To breathe in and out, to look around me. To watch and to listen. To keep my mind and heart open and free of cynicism.

It’s a tall order. (Not easy sometimes!) But it’s worth it.

Whether or not I ever get to the place I want to get to, I at least want to know that I did whatever I could do to ensure that I didn’t miss anything.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: BUILD YOUR OWN

  1. I need to be in the moment more… but I’m never more in the moment than when I’m in park. At least during any season but winter, because I love to feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze and the vibrant colours around me.

    On a slightly different note, I can lucid dream. It used to be that I could create my own dreams and I’d travel to the most wonderful places. Of course, this happened when I was suffering from depression, and, frankly, I’d rather be happy in “real” life. At this moment in time, when I lucid dream, I watch the dream and if I get bored, I change it. Or, like a resetting a video game, if I make a mistake in my dream or something bad happens, I just go back to a point where I can change the outcome to something more favourable LOL

    If only life were like that…

    Like

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