Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin
So, I’m currently living in Ontario, Canada, and it’s January. What does that mean? Cold, that’s what that means, but I like it. I really like it. There’s something about this time of year that renews me. A bit of a spiritual hibernation to prepare for the awakening spring. Also, the cold, fresh air makes me feel alive, and seeing my breath actually validates that I am. Some people find winter to be isolating, which led me recently to ponder the isolation of creativity.
I was driving to work a week ago, when traffic was horrendous due to weather and encroaching darkness. I coasted along at a measly 20 km/12 miles per hour and fought the hypnotism that comes from staring at a long, steady line of red tail-lights. Eventually the traffic inched toward a median where someone stood out in the freezing cold, seemingly stranded.
One person, beside their car, wrapped in a parka, staring off into the night sky. You see, it was -22 C/-7F that night, and snow was falling at a steady, determined pace. I’m not sure why that person stood out in the cold versus hunkering down in their vehicle, but looking at them – and I had plenty of time to do so – made me think, ‘That’s exactly how I feel.’
Now, that’s not a statement that’s put out there to garner pity. I’m quite content with standing on my own little median, but there is an isolating feeling that comes with following your heart, pursuing something unconventional, and getting out of traffic.
Again, this blog is about my journey. I am not a published writer; I pursue writing, but I have found my journey to be a lot easier since deciding to brave the elements and tell people about it. “I’m an aspiring author,” I say now, and I usually get one of four responses:
– “Any money in that?” (like personal satisfaction doesn’t weigh in at all)
– “How nice for you, dear.” (this one is usually accompanied by a distant, blank expression)
– “Oh God. I’d love to do something like that. I’ve always wanted to, but I got this job and…”
– “Cool! I’m doing a similar thing. We should get together and discuss our projects.” (this latter group I now call the median dwellers)
For those of you who think about pursuing your passion, there will be times when you feel isolated – I guarantee it. The creative path is the one less travelled, but my experience has been that the further you get down the trail, the more people you’ll meet who are braving the elements as well.
Step one, for me, was admitting – out loud – that I have a passion for something and adjusting to the various reactions that came from that. I had to let go of fearing other’s opinions before I could open up to meeting like-minded people. They’re out there, and even though you may spend a significant amount of time by yourself working on your craft, you really are never alone.
I didn’t sense that the parka guy felt frustrated, scared, or alone on that freezing cold night. I kind of got a sense of ‘Well, here I am. What’s next, and I wonder who else is out there.’ I also got a vision of median dwellers only blocks apart all over the city. If we’d all just abandon the vehicles, take a few steps, and announce our intentions, we’d have all the support we needed.
Yep, that’s definitely how I feel.