On October 15th of 2015, I took off in my little RV for a grand adventure. I had all these huge plans and dreams—as I always do whenever I start something new—and in the end, I didn’t achieve a lot of what I set out to do, and somehow managed to experience a great deal more than I had imagined; for this reason, this trip was an absolute success with many small failures throughout. The world is good… though mostly it keeps revolving around the sun without batting an eyelash at what I do, don’t do, achieve, don’t achieve, and so on… and that, is how it should be.
“If you have the guts to follow the risk, however, life opens, opens, opens up all along the line. I’m not superstitious, but I do believe in spiritual magic, you might say. I feel that if one follows what I call one’s “bliss”—the thing that really gets you deep in the gut and that you feel is your life—doors will open up. They do! They have in my life and they have in many lives that I know of.” (page 24 An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in conversation with Michael Toms selected and edited by John M. Maher and Dennie Briggs, First Perennial Library 1990)
I picked up An Open Life in a tiny second-hand bookstore in Santa Fe called Big Star Books & Music on Garfield St. just across from the Santa Fe Depot. The first time I went in there, I bought Turtle Island, by Gary Snyder.
This second time around, I was sitting in the Mythology section. This is usually my second stop in any bookstore I visit, though I often start with the poetry section… unless I’m actively looking for a novel. I tend to judge all bookstores by the quality of their poetry section. I realize this is totally unfair, however I cannot help myself. I’ve learned that if I am looking for a good thriller / horror / scifi / noir novel—which I love reading—that I shouldn’t even look at the poetry section, as it can it can turn me off to the bookstore altogether. This is irrational, and I should know better. I digress…
I was in the Mythology section and wanted to buy The Kalevala, Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Keith Bosley, as I had never heard of this epic poem and wanted to read it; and I also wanted to buy Odes To Opposites Bilingual Edition, by Pablo Neruda. I love Neruda. I have Odes to Common Things back in my parents garage in Liberty Hill… Choices! I picked An Open Life.
THE USE OF LIGHT
It warms my bones
say the stones
I take it into me and grow
Say the trees
A vast vague white
Draws me out of the night
Says the moth in his flight—
Some things I smell
Some things I hear
And I see things move
Says the deer—
A high tower
on a wide plain.
If you climb up
You’ll see a thousand miles more.
(Gary Snyder, page 39 Turtle Island, NDP 1969)
One of the goals I had when I set off, was to start a novella set on a farm in an invented country, it was to be called THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, and it was to deal with institutionalized cannibalism. Instead, I started writing a book length poem, or possibly a book made of several interconnected poems, to be published by Weekly Weird Monthly by the end of 2016. The working title is RUMINATIONS, though I am sure this will change before I am done. I might still get to the novella; I hope I do eventually, however the book of poems is nudging at me to be written, and it feels right to write that book rather than the other.
“And the other point is, if you follow your bliss, you’ll have your bliss, whether you have money or not. If you follow money, you may lose the money, and then you don’t have even that. The secure way is really the insecure way and the way in which the richness of the quest accumulates is the right way.” (page 25, Joseph Campbell, An Open Life.)
Things I’ve learnt:
Learnt #1: I can live in a tiny space. I was pretty certain of this but wasn’t convinced. Now I am.
Learnt #2: I really don’t need that much money. I can survive on very little. There are however, the basics that need to be covered: gas, food, phone, internet, health & car insurance, and the occasional need to rent a motel room or an RV parking slot.
Learnt #3: I want to go on these adventures more often. I really enjoy driving to other places, meeting new people, writing in my blog, and sharing my adventure with lots of folks. It brings me pleasure, and it brings other people pleasure. It’s a win-win.
Learnt #4: I want to get my podcast off the ground. It will be good to be in Austin for a few months, maybe even a year or so, to get such things sorted out.
Learnt #5: People are cool, generous, and wonderful… and I like meeting them and hanging out with them. Being alone for many days at a time enhances the experience of being with others, though sometimes you forget how to small talk.
Learnt #6: I knew most of these things already, however it is always good to revisit & to relearn.
Learnt #7: I need a smaller generator, and I need solar panels.
The end of an adventure is really just the beginning of the rest of my life, and the realization that new adventures are waiting to be lived. I will continue to write this blog, hopefully one entry per week. My podcast will be a reality before the end of 2016. My newsletter will continue at a regular intervals of one mailing per month.
Great big THANK YOU to all the incredibly generous people who have donated their time, their money, themselves, who have bought my books and swag, who have fed me, clothed me, conversed with me, opened their arms and homes to me, who have prepared food and taken me out to restaurants and bars, who have given me so many gifts and so many helping hands… I am one lucky man, and am incredibly grateful. Thank you.
Peace & Love
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