In My Wheelhouse

It’s been a choppy week here in Lake Wobegon. Many upsets to my routines, from visitors to unexpected or unwanted tasks to tragic news to stirred up old trauma. Emotionally and psychologically, I’ve been all over the map, which has made writing more difficult. I find, when I’m distracted, that I cannot easily sink back into my story with the freedom and focus I need to do good work.

It has come to dawn on me this week that perhaps it will always be this way. I say that not so much to make a prediction as to create some space for me to accept and embrace a seeming fact: that I am filled with wild feeling, reactivity, contradiction, and paradox. Rather than fighting that, rather than thinking it an aberration, rather that working to heal it, get over it, through it, beyond it, or past it, rather than holding that there’s something wrong, rather than speaking in terms of upsets and routines and difficulties that toss me “all over the map,” it might better serve me to take my wild, contradictory nature as a starting point, and, in the immortal words of Stanley Kubrick, learn to “love the bomb.”

Maybe there’s no “signal” to be found within the “noise,” no calm route through the choppy sea, no “true” and “correct” and “real” me that gets lost or knocked down or interrupted when life intervenes and stresses pile up. Maybe I’m the signal and the noise. And maybe if I stop pushing away from the noise, something will shift. It’s worth a try. Working to keep the Ship of Tim on “an even keel” is probably a losing strategy when sailing such a tempest-tossed ocean as is this modern life.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m saying here. I don’t know if this “makes sense.” I’m just going on a gut feeling and seeing what pours out of my fingers. It may be that my wild interior landscape of feelings and reactions and wants and needs and desires is more the source of my superpowers than it is a distraction from them. Or if not the source, then at least a huge pallet from which I can find colors to paint my life.

So today, as I get in the car with Sally and drive for a few hours – to attend a funeral, to meet with some old friends, and to further scope out some possibilities for our future life – I’m going to try to give myself less grief about the fact that, most of the time, I’m a swirl of contradictory thoughts and wild feelings and conflicting wants and needs, and that I’m often steering my boat with only a rudimentary understanding of where it needs to go.

We’ll be gone for a couple of days. It’ll be interesting, to see where we end up.

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