13 March 2009

Exiting the Closet

Howdy. I have been crappy this week with the time change and this lingering migraine/sinus thing. I hate when I haven't been writing. Of course, if I were to cultivate them, I probably have enough writings stashed away to last till my hundredth year.

I have been reading though. I plugged through The Golden Compass quite quickly. Philip Pullman is a genius. I thought J.K. Rowling was masterful in awaking the magic in us, but Pullman takes it to a whole new level. The Golden Compass isn't fanciful, but dark and slightly gloomy. It gets the mind ticking. I started The Subtle Knife which is the second book of the trilogy and already, I am finding confirmation and validation of my belief system through Pullman's cleverly disguised fiction.

See, I don't remember movies well, and I saw The Golden Compass when it came out on DVD in summer 2008. Since I saw the movie, I forgot many of the sequences and reasons why things happened. My subconscious didn't though. I didn't know anything of the books nor of the author, Philip Pullman. Last week or so when I first started thinking hard on the movie but before I read the book, The Golden Compass, I did some research. Pullman is a controversial writer, but if you are going to write, is there any other way?

The first thing I read was on Snopes.com, which I thought was a rather reputable source. After reading what it had to say, I felt a little worried, but something didn't sit right. I could not believe what I had read. Though I wasn't familiar with any of his works and I couldn't remember the movie, I felt strongly of exactly the opposite of what Snopes said.

I next read a random interview with Philip Pullman and within seconds, I realized that Snopes had it wrong. This is not the interview that I originally read, but HisDarkMaterials.org covers what I read in that random interview.

I truly believe that fiction is a great tool for education. In the interview that I posted above, a person named, Muhaimin, asks Pullman an interesting question:

Muhaimin: "How do you imagine such an epic world in “The Golden Compass”? Did you look for it or did it come to you?"

Hello, Muhaimin: This is an interesting question, because it’s something I’ve often wondered about myself. When I’m telling a story I know, with part of my mind, that I’m making it up; but with another part of my mind, it feels as if I’m discovering something that is already there, in some mysterious way, and I’m learning about it rather than inventing it. So I can’t give you a definite answer! The one thing I do know is that if I don’t work steadily and try to write every day, no story will get written at all. So I try to do that.

How I relate to this. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first play in 4th grade, but I didn't go on to do much else. I didn't submit work to the school newspaper or literary journal. I studied creative writing, briefly, in a privileged class at Loyola where the only objective was to write at least one short story. I wrote a small epic, which embarrassed me to read some time back. I don't even know if I have it anymore. I tend to burn my work at times. I have worked intermittently over the past 30 years keeping most of my broken work in hidden journals. In 2006, after spending a week alone and in retreat, a story hit me. It came to me in a full block like an epiphany. This has never happened to me before.

I know that I am at a zenith in my life as I discover many new things about myself and about the world in opposition as it was taught to me my entire life. I feel open and alive as so much of the natural world awakens within us all. I hope to use my writing as a tool for education and awakening. Will it be controversial? You can bet on it.

I would like to introduce you to the beginning of the story. I have kept in hidden for years. I have struggled as to whether or not to put it out there, but the urge to do so is overwhelming. I don't share freely these things, but the time has come to act without fear.

I hope you enjoy Stillwater Farm.

Stillwater Farm

You can read an intro HERE.

Part I

As he exited the old Buick, said good-bye and stuck out his thumb, about two minutes passed when a dark blue Volvo station wagon stopped. His friends warned him about the dangers of lone hitchhiking across the United States, but after reading a few classic novels on the subject, his zeal to try the task in this modern age was more then just a dream. His soul called for him to travel adventurously and cheaply. He was at a good point in his life. He had no obligations or responsibilities, and whatever happened, happened.
"Dude, there are some weirdos out there. This isn't the sixties when VW busses were in constant motion from coast to coast. This is not the dawning of a new era."
"I know this guy who tried to travel the country hitchhiking. He was picked up by so many pervs, and when he wouldn't suck 'em or let them give him head, he got abandoned on the side of the road."
"That's nothing. What about the hitchhiker who got axed up?"
"I looked that one up, and it is an urban legend."
"So what dude. What about all those freaked out 'copy-cat' killers out there? Didn't you see the Saw movies? What if someone tries something like that?"
He couldn't live on what ifs? He didn't want to be stifled. Moving deep inside him was a calling to go, travel, and let the spirits guide him. This wasn't some fetish. He knew that this had to be done, but when the rustic Volvo wagon stopped, he didn't know the twist of fate that was to become him.

As he approached the wagon from the rear, he noticed a big plastic container filled with food and an old army-green wool blanket covering the rest of it. As he looked into the backseat before opening the door, he saw a shabby, hard-bodied, brown suitcase. When he opened the door, a small blue elephant stuffed animal with orange inside the ears sat in the passenger seat. It was a cheap stuffed animal, the kind that you win out of one of those game machines at a bar or grocery store. He lowered his head, glanced at the driver and tried to conceal his surprise at the woman driver traveling alone.
She seemed normal looking with chin length curly hair and a pink sundress on her athletic frame. She wore sunglasses, and he couldn't see her eyes. Her mood, when she spoke, was less then cheerful and glumly polite at best.
"Hi. Where are you going?" she asked him.
"I'm going East." He didn't have a destination in mind. He began his journey in the Smoky Mountains. He walked and camped on the Appalachian Trail to Asheville. The Buick, his first real ride outside his friend who drove him to the drop-off in the mountains, picked him up in Asheville and let him out about twenty miles south at the top of the exit ramp on the busy interstate. The Volvo was only his second ride, and his nerves began to take hold.
"Are you in a hurry?" She asked. He thought that an odd question.
"Oh, not really."
"Well, you can just let me know where to drop you off. You can ride for as long as you like." He looked at her for maybe a second too long.
"Well, if you want a ride, your stuff will fit in the backseat. This is a dangerous place to linger with speeding traffic and all." He had only one very large backpack, and everything was in it including his wallet. All of a sudden, he had wished that his wallet was in his pocket, but it was too late to make that move. He had read the book by Lars Eighner, Travels with Lizbeth, and suddenly became worried that this seemingly normal looking woman would take off with all his stuff leaving him without as much his address book which kept all his emergency numbers.
He found himself saying, "Oh sure." He stepped to the left, opened the door, placed his pack on the seat and closed the door with nervous anxiety. As the door banged shut, the moment of truth gripped his gut as he wondered if she would drive off. He moved towards the front door that he unconsciously left ajar. He moved the little blue elephant, sat in the passenger seat and closed the door. She didn't move.
"Seatbelt," she said in a motherly fashion. As the seatbelt clicked, she merged into traffic.

To be continued...