This morning sitting here with tears in my eyes from the book I Heard The Owl Call My Name (what did I expect from “Part TWO: The depth of sadness”?), I decide it is a good time to write.
I feel insane and vulnerable and pointless and absurd for the blog I published yesterday night. Publish another one, then. Best to keep going.
It’s 7:25 am.
I didn’t want to get up at 6:25, but I was fucking freezing because the sleeping bag I’d put over the comforter (that my mom fashioned for me out of her old comforter) had fallen off the loft at some point in the frost-the-windows night. Despite wearing the almost comically thick siren red wool socks I bought from the Kangaroo Valley General Store, I awoke with the sensation that my big toes had departed my body.
Note to self: put the super slippery sleeping bag under the comforter next cold night.
Also: maybe practice turning on the furnace and warming up Tortigra before you go to sleep. We get it, Virginia, that you can sleep in freezing cold conditions, but you don’t have to. However, we also get that it’s more about being lazy and intimidated by the furnace (which won’t be the case after you literally just use it one time) than about proving your ability to withstand cold.
I didn’t want to get up at 6:25 because I love falling back into dreaming in the morning, and also because I was up really late forcing myself to finish the blog I sort of wish I hadn’t published, and also because I was reading I Heard the Owl Call My Name (“The Modern Classic of Native American Life, Now in Its 22nd Best-selling Year! by Margaret Craven) late into the night.
When I called Mary Keller that sunny March afternoon, one week before the full moon, as I held the soft, supple dead owl on my lap in the driver’s seat of my van, she suggested --- among other things --- that I find the book I Heard The Owl Call My Name. I was crying and stroking its feathers soft as air, asking why it had to die (Mary explained how common it is for owls to be hit by cars when they follow rodent trails on the road), and why I had to find it.
It was almost a month ago, then, that I took the Owl Who Called My Name (which Elyse thinks was/is a Great Horned, from the photos I showed her), out of my freezer where I had carefully lain her in a trash bag, and carried her on my back up the hill under the full moon to do whatever it was she had called me to do.
I’ll write the proper story about the Owl Who Called My Name after this next full moon then. I didn’t know when I would write it, but now I do. She reminds me I needed to finish the book first, anyway.
I look now to see I’m about halfway through -- page 86 of 159. I love how I can see that on the very last page of the book are only the last words of the story. Nothing about the author, her other books if she has any, other books by the publishing house, links to social media and websites and merchandise. Just
(That is all)
and then blankness on the back of the page and back cover.
I wish my book would be like that, or that any book published now-a-days was. (I Heard The Owl Call My Name was copyrighted in 1973). Maybe I’ll self publish after all, like Tammy keeps encouraging, and I can choose for my book to be like that. But that wouldn’t even really be my style; it’s just a style I admire.
I’m probably not going to write some fictional mythological historical epic classic in which the last page of the book contains only the last word of the story. I’ll probably just keep trying to get better at putting down whatever’s moving through me, and hopefully over time it will become less self-centered and more applicable to all. And yet, maybe the more centered in self I am the more applicable it is to all. Fuck, I don’t know. I just know I’ll probably have links to my website and social media and youtube channel and an author bio and photo and a “coming soon!” prompt on the last page of my book.
I also know it’s hard to accept … and really fucking scary, and full of endless worries that it’s cheesy and vapid and uncool and ridiculous … sharing the writing and style that is me.
In that this-morning discomfort considering the blog I published last night, I was thinking about fear versus love, and about that piece I wrote about fear versus love so long ago back in Guatemala. It was called “Don’t be afraid to stop and turn around,” and I felt so ashamed and vulnerable and dumb --- so uncomfortable --- after writing and sharing it.
That familiar shameful uncomfortable feeling returned when I looked up from this deep, timeless, meaningful book, caught sight of the owl feather on the wall, and felt like such a ridiculous twit for what I published yesterday. Come on Virginia, write something fucking meaningful like this book. Something about something bigger than yourself. Something that will make you a good and worthy and worth-reading person, something substantial, something meaninful, something …
Oh, fine, just fucking write something.
That was when I put the book down and got up and got my computer.
As I felt that hot cold grip and sick, quickening drip of my pounding heart in the exposedness of what I published last night, fear of what my words meant about me, I remembered Kesia’s and my Sunday evening conversation (which I’m stoked to publish on the divine dialogues soon) about how similar fear and excitement really are anyway, especially in the body. Don’t they both feel like butterflies emerging from the cocoon of your belly, like an unseen hand choking at your throat, like a thudding flutter of runaway heart?
And how I laughed and told Kesia the acronym Neale Donald Walsch (of Conversations with God) had channeled about FEAR: Feeling Excited And Ready. And I remembered also Kesia’s and my agreement that the game of life will never be easy; it is a lifelong practice of finding evermore ease in the difficulty. Of remembering that FEAR might actually, at the deepest level, mean feeling excited and ready, and, it may never feel like that, really.
It may just most of the time feel like the suffering and pain of fear as we commonly recognize it, and we just get evermore used to being with that discomfort, sitting with it, doing it all anyway. And that’s how we know we’re really ready.
Like the last words of “Part TWO: The depth of sadness”: “You have suffered with them, and now you are theirs, and nothing will ever be the same.”
Maybe by being willing to suffer with my words, whatever they are across the yawning crazy-ass-spectrum of my wildly varied feeling and expression and figuring, by being willing to suffer the humiliation of letting them be what they are and sharing them no matter what … maybe I am really theirs now.
And they are really mine.
And nothing will ever be the same.
(That is all)