If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way. – Seamus Heaney
Writers spend a lot of time searching for the right words to express barely understood emotions or to describe imaginary events. We live a great deal of our lives trying to understand the minds of fictional points of view. Since I was a small child, I have narrated my life as I lived it, sometimes adding sound effects and music. In this way, I have felt at times like the director rather than the actor in my life-story. Actors are taught to search for the motivation of their character’s actions. As a university writing student, this was one thing our professors asked repeatedly – what is the motivation?
Truth has been a great motivator for me. I don’t believe there are many absolute truths, short of life – you live, and death – you die. But seeking what is true, what is actual, this has motivated my mind and my actions since I was about three years old. I was curious about everything, and wanted to know if what I observed was true. I asked my father so many questions, like why does the water curve over the top of a full bucket? He bought an encyclopedia set, on installments, and dictionaries and told me to look it up. Because of that I have had a lifelong love of reference books. Searching for certainty, I wandered through various types of dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, thesauri, … following the trail of words spread out like breadcrumbs -hoping to discover truth (not TRUTH – I would be content with some measure of truthfulness).
A lifelong quest for understanding led me to learn about other cultures, and other perspectives on life. Fortunately great teachers, and great writers have dedicated their lives to expressing their views on life and humankind’s connection to the Universe. By trying to appreciate their words, I have greatly expanded my worldview. I grew up in a mid-size (by American standards) Midwestern US city. Most of my ancestors arrived in the US between 1634-1750. So I did not grow up with cultural traditions other than a traditional American hodgepodge. Books were my introduction to the greater world. My insatiable curiosity led me to accompany writers on their journeys, and use their experiences to inspire my unceasing creation of an authentic life.
We all are world-builders. We use many tools to construct our lives: words, images, symbols, music, color, textures, flavors,…. Additionally, we all have our personal truths learned through experience and understood through various languages and dialects. These accumulated entries into our private dictionaries define our life-journey. Along the way, may you expand your unique encyclopedia of knowledge into an entire library of wisdom.
BONUS: The promise of spring
I just posted a video of the Spring migration of Canadian Geese flying north to Canada along the Pacific Northwest Coast.