This is a letter I’m writing to myself to fold into my pocket in case my body is found somewhere in a ditch.
I don’t want to slow down because I don’t know when this is gonna end. I’ve had some good runs, but none as good as this. I had a shot at it once before and it got away from me. And now that I am back on my feet, I need to do this now because this may be the last shot I get.
There are no guarantees in life. There are no assurances that I will wake up tomorrow, that I will survive my drive to work, that I won’t get shot by some random person, get crushed in a building during an earthquake or die of E.coli eating broccoli. I don’t want to waste any time, not even to sleep.
I feel stronger, smarter, more confident, more attuned, more in tune and more me than I have ever felt. For the first time in my life, I can look in the mirror and say, with confidence, that I am happy with the person staring back at me. And since the time I have left is uncertain, I cannot waste it on being self-conscious or modest. This has freed me to express myself without reservation, to tap into a deeper creativity only accessible when uninhibited.
This groundswell of creative energy has been building inside of me after a long period of drought. Like water in a reservoir that had all but dried up, the level has been rising and now overflows. Imagination spills over into everything I do – my work, my play, my chores – everything. It permeates my thinking, my feeling, my doing.
I am moved to paint, to write, to sing, to run, to dance, to draw, to build, to explore. My mind commands my body into action, directing the flow of imagination this way and that. I surrender my body to this force and allow it to manifest as it may without judgment or attempt to control it. Without any formal training in any specific field, my hands are free to follow where they are led, my fingers feel nimble enough to keep pace, my legs are obedient and strong and my whole body is pliant and ready for whatever may come.
I feel compelled to try my hand at pursuits both familiar and foreign. In this way, I am moved to expand the way I create to push my works in new and challenging directions. Today it is creating photographs and drawings that embellish the stories my words wish to tell. The next day it may be writing stories unlike any I have written before. I am impatient to find what may follow.
The eagerness to create is matched by an insatiable desire to feel and see and consume. With so much beauty in the world, I am powerless to resist being drawn hither and tither, ever searching for things that delight my senses. It’s as though my body is alight with sensory perception – my capacity to process stimuli has been expanded exponentially, something akin to an acid trip.
A heightened sensitivity to touch draws goosebumps to my skin: The slightest breeze or the feeling of sunshine on my skin, the feeling of the smooth material of an article of clothing or the tight fit of my pants, the burn of my muscles as I exert myself or the ache that follows a workout, the exhilaration of feeling my heart pounding or the sweat flowing when my body is pushed to the edge of exhaustion.
Smell fills the air everywhere: The delicate, almost imperceptible call of jasmine on a fall afternoon, the transient aroma of perfume worn by the woman two spaces ahead in line at the supermarket, the earthy scent of fresh cut cedar boards, the fresh breath of mountain air.
My eyes are awash in color, light, line and movement: The confluence of colors announcing the arrival of each new day, the shimmer of light shards dancing on the surface of water, the angles of architecture that defy gravity, the way generously proportioned bodies bounce as they walk.
A flood of sound creates a symphony in my ears: Birdsong that hovers just above the morning dew, gravel crunching under foot on a mountain trail, my kittens purring joyously when they acquiesce and allow me to pet them, music that echoes in my head and vibrates through my chest, genuine laughter that takes your breath away.
The tickling, tingling temptation of my tongue: The cold, soft, sweet, creamy pleasure that is ice cream, the sting of peppers that lights my mouth on fire, the bold bitter deliciousness of coffee, the surprise of new foods from far away lands and the hot electric jolt of my lover’s mouth in mine.
This irrepressible creative force is fueled by curiosity; It is a search for understanding that drives me to explore the world and how I can experience it most fully. And the more I learn, the more I discover how much more there is to learn. The environment that surrounds me influences my art and my art changes it. In this way, they feed off of and inspire one another.
With each new day I wake up I am granted another shot at this crap shoot that is life. Whether I hit my number or roll snake-eyes, at least I can say it was good while it lasted.