As frustrating as it seems, especially in the moment, life must have challenge, especially if you, like me, like to tell stories about it.
Most often we hear about the challenge of the writer’s block, the fear of failing to improve with our primitive markings the purity of the blank page (cave wall), or committing to a story that might not turn out to be ideally suited to achieving our dreams.
I haven’t written anything for a long time, though I don’t think the reasons for this are the above. Instead, the trouble’s been, I’ve been so busy accumulating stories I just haven’t had a chance to write any of them down!
The backlog goes back at least to the humanistic seder I hosted on Good Friday. It includes dinner parties featuring peking duck, Dutch poffertjes and a banquet inspired by a soundtrack of pre-Khmer Cambodian rock and roll. I attended an extraordinary world premier by the classical music world’s current wunderkind, Matt Aucoin, and made a cross country culinary pilgrimage to dine at the trailblazing Chez Panisse. I was inducted into the Fellowship of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist and spent a weekend in rural Vermont leaving cocktail parties in chicken coops in my wake.
Indeed, I’m writing this paragraph from a shady Montreal garden where an immigrant DJ is ensuring my Fourth of July has more French EDM than yours. Shouldn’t I engage someone in conversation? Make a story, rather than privately muse on the challenges of storytelling?
It’s a long-held writer’s creed, that a story doesn’t count if you don’t write it down. Eat everything you kill. By this estimation the past several months have been pretty indulgent? Self-serving? Profligate?
By choosing not to write for whatever reasons, I am in some sense diminishing these experiences value.
And that’s not because I’m failing to publish them, and personally benefit from dozens of you being convinced of my very unique life. The problem is I’m not honoring these stories nee experiences, failing to reflect upon and draw connections among people and happenings, imbued with the potential of radical change.
In this way, the accumulation of stories for the purpose of personal entertainment is akin to accumulating hats, or magic tricks, or rabbits: a wasteful illusion.
A story, on the contrary, should not be a mere gimmick but an innately honorable repository of meaning and a vehicle for revelation and revolution.
And so, on this day celebrating a revelation of independence, I choose to break from the chase and do the work.
Vive la revolution!