Saturday, November 11, 2006

a hobo in space

For Sunday Scribblings: “I don't want to be a passenger in my own life.” - Diane Ackerman

There are some big, dazzling daydreamy things that I want, like a villa in Italy and to ride elephants through the tiger preserves of northern India. Dinner parties with intriguing people, a mask-making class in Venice, a mango tour of the tropics, open-ocean sailing. Smart curious children, a beautiful marriage (this one I have already), holiday feasts with family (yep, that too), baking marathons (sure), a lovely home (working on it). I also want days and weeks and months of living in the worlds in my head, writing, dreaming, uninterrupted. Somewhere cozy with a fire and a coffee pot and a big shelf of books, some of them by me.

I know these things don’t just happen. Anything we want in life we must create with our own minds and hands, whether it is a career or a home or a relationship, a round-the-world trip, an opportunity, a niche. Each of us begins, essentially, like a hobo standing at a point in space with just the brains in our heads and maybe a small bundle over our shoulder with some clothes in it. Cars might come by and offer you a lift -- a spouse, a parent, a job -- and you can get in and get swept up in the ease of that, of riding along with someone else.

Or you can gather your little hobo self together and figure out how to get a car of your own, how to make a map, how to cross oceans when you come to them, how even to fly. We all start from scratch with the most basic notion of how the create our own maps, and it’s hard. A lot of people give up and get in somebody else’s car. These are choices we make again and again and again, every day, the easy way or the hard way. It’s not just a matter of “driving” -- to begin at the beginning, you need a place to go and a way to get there, and a car is not magically handed to you with the tank full. You need to do that part, too.

This all reminds me of another quote I love, by the astronomer Carl Sagan:

“If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

Yes! It’s just like that! If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, first you need to invent apples; you need to dream up the soil, water, and sun, day by day by day, plant the seeds and wait for a tree to grow, and eventually gather the fruit. What is your apple pie?

I still remember a tidbit from the book The Pigman by Paul Zindel that I read in junior high (back in the old days before it was called “middle school”) -- I recall the young characters developing a practice of doing 2 things every day that will carry them closer to their goals and dreams. Two real things. That has stuck with me. I don’t do it everyday -- yesterday I read all day long -- but overall, I think I do. Do you?


Deb R said...

Hhhmm...I don't really think I do, not every day. I should. I think this is something I should think about - be more conscious about because I do believe we can create our own reality.

paris parfait said...

I'm not sure about two things every day, but I definitely make a conscious effort every day to do something to improve my life/move towards my dreams. I love your post - whimsical, magical and wise.

Amber said...

Hmmmm...So not only are you a fantasy author, you are also a gifted Life Coach! Wonderful, tangible advice. Do I? I'm not sure. I guess it depends on the goal. I do AT LEAST two things everyday to try and raise conscious, loving human beings to send out into the world... But other thngs, maybe not so much. That is really something I should write down, and stick on the fridge.

This is a great Scribble topic. ;)


melba said...

My sister read The Pigman to me. She is three years older and would read all her school books to me. Wow. Thank you for resurfacing a great memory.

Catherine said...

I like the idea of doing two real things each day. As I get further into my middle years, fitness is becoming a big thing for me, and I think I'm doing quite well on pursuing my goals there - but I need to think about a second thing that I can do consistently in the pursuit of another goal.
My post today has taken quite a different view from yours. But I suspect the real answer lies somewhere in between.

Skyelarke said...

I try to do one thing a day for me and my creative dreams, which often leads to other things ~ that spider web effect.

I agree with your quote; we can do nothing from scratch. We are influenced & affected by the works of others, whether we know it consiously or not. We choose our path, but so much of our path is influenced by others.

Left-handed Trees... said...

I'd like to have your whole first paragraph also...(some I do, some I still am working on) "apple pies". I LOVE that quote--how I needed it! Pigman was a book I read again and again and somehow I don't remember them doing 2 things every day to carry them "closer to their goals and dreams"...sounds like very good advice to me. *Also, sounds like time for me to dust that book off and see what else I've missed!*

Patry Francis said...

I think you have created the universe with this marvelous post.

As for NOT doing the two things when you spent the day reading, I wouldn't be so sure. Sometimes the two things are like wildflower seeds--invisible and hidden, but ah, the splendor that is to come!.


Sacred Suzie said...

As a home baker, that reference really cracked me up and inspired me at the same time! Carl Sagan, what a genius.

Crafty Green Poet said...

This is a really good post with the combination of your own perspective and then making the reader really think about their own situation too. I try every day to do something genuinely creative, more successfully on the days I don't work!

Also now I know why I can never make a good apple pie!

Dharmashanti said...

I don't seem to have trouble creating the universe. It's changing the default settings that always baffles me. That and the blueberries. Why do they always turn into blueberries?

As Lily Tomlin used to say, "Reality is a collective hunch."

Whirld peas and hominy,

Rethabile said...

A thumbs-up post! Love the insightful Carl Sagan quote.

January said...

I love love love this prompt and your post.

"A lot of people give up and get in somebody else’s car." There is nothing sadder than a dream deferred, which made me think of Langston Hughes' poem A Dream Deferred.

Here's to your wise words and creating apple pies, one universe at a time!

kelly rae said...

i just figured all of this out rather recently. i'm the hobo who just got herself together, made a map, and set out on the big discovery that is Self.

i love it when you post blogs like this.

kelly rae said...

ps - did i tell you i got accepted to vendor nite and artfest??

anna said...

What a lovely thought. I'm going to do something right now!

Little Swing Fairy said...

(Sorry- needed to edit, my spelling is atrocious!)

"Somewhere cozy with a fire and a coffee pot and a big shelf of books, some of them by me."

I can help you out with that one Laini...come to my living room! It's quite cozy, we have a fireplace next to 6 bookcases of books...and some of them are by you! (the earlier works, of course. I'm waiting until you make it big to start flogging Tahitian Nights, FGIP...;-)


Lori Lee

Alexandra S said...

This is yet another post you should submit to a magazine-its wonderful!

Amber said...

Laini sweets! I want to make sure you read mu SS this week! Go!

ox :)

Colorsonmymind said...

I like imagining myself as a hobo-venturing out to obtain my goal. I don't want a ride but I will admit it is nice to stop and get some good directions from those that have ventured out in pursuit of their dreams already.

Thanks for providing us with that here on your blog.

Loved the quote as well.


b/sistersshoes said...

This belongs somewhere other than here....for more people to read.

Inspiring :)

xox darlene

chest of drawers said...

That´s a lovely and inspiring way of looking at things...too often we forget what our hopes and dreams are but your blog continues to remind me.

gerry rosser said...

What a thoughtful post! I like the two things notion.

twilightspider said...

Obviously I'm ridiculously late in reading this week - but I can't tell you how inspiring this post is. Now that I think of it, I probably have done a little of both things in my life (trying to find my own car and hitching rides with others), but your wonderful writing on the topic gives me resolve to stop doing the latter. Thank you, sincerely, for your words.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

What an inspiring, lovely perspective. I love everything you wrote & thank you for also sharing the Sagan quote - brilliant! much peace, JP