Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Year with Birds

It's been one year and two weeks since I first sat down at this desk as a full-time writer. First chose to stare out this window through tendrils of ivy and say, "YES," to a risk I just barely had the guts to take.

In time, I'd hang a bird-feeder -- a memory that life is more than just the worlds I was trying to build out of the scattered bits floating around in my head. And yesterday, I took this picture of my friend the cardinal, who seemed to look at me and say, "Hello. I see you. I know that you can see me, too, but I am not afraid."

That, I suppose, is what I have been trying to say all year:

Is what I was trying to say when I wrote, edited, and re-edited the stories in my book... when I arranged them, packaged them, and thrust them out into the world. Is what I was trying to say when I wrote three new feature-length screenplays, and started in on a fourth. Seven screenplays total! What was I thinking?!? How dare I think this wasn't a fool's errand. A pipe dream. A lark.

And yet here I am, seven screenplays in. With four short films in various stages of pre-production with four different directors (if I can call myself a director). Here I am with oh-so-many new photographs, poems, essays, and even paintings to my name.

Here I am, with a whopping total of a couple hundred bucks of this-year income, and a whole new crop of fears:

Fear that our second attempt at crowd-funding my LOCKER 212 is bound to fail.
Fear that I will never find someone to represent and sell one of my feature-lengths.
Fear that I will always scrabble my way somewhat-alone through life, in a small house in the woods.
Fear the song I recorded last week and sent to my "real-musician" friend was silly, and he'd laugh.
Fear that I'm essentially a hobbyist -- will always be "just" a hobbyist.

But...

But my real-musician friend actually likes the song, and this morning asks me to send the lyrics.
And people -- even people who aren't my mom -- say kind things about my book in reviews.
And others love my screenplays.
And I -- this conflagration of flesh and bone, of angelic sprite and all the insecurity and fear that one man can muster -- find hope and joy and beauty in the midst of all of it. Find peace in turmoil, solidarity in loneliness.

It has been (and continues to be) a Good Year.

I have taken a stupid, ridiculous risk. I have gambled on myself and I have not won, but lived. Because as cheesy and overwrought as it is to say it, life is not a destination, but something much more wonderful.

Life is Now. Life is being a father, a brother, a son... a Maker.

So this morning -- this Father's Day -- I look out my window at more cardinals, and at the little red-headed brown-birds that have come to eat and raise their young in the vines that wrap my home. My friends. My fellow-fliers. I watch them come, I watch them go. Raising their own families and living their own lives.

Sometimes they are afraid. But always, they fly.

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