November 10, 2009

i’m hungry. a lot. and i wonder if people around me are as hungry as i am. for meaning, and movement, and that occasional (and most times fleeting) feeling of grace and comfort that envelops, soothes, and whispers in our ear that things are as they should be, where they should be, that the rhythm of the universe is intact.

i walked my sweet dog lucy through our still new neighborhood a week or two ago, before daylight savings time had kicked in. it was dusk, just getting dark, and in most of the houses i passed, the blue light of tv was flickering on walls and there were smells of dinner coming through open windows. people were at the end of their work days, settling in, relaxing. a few families were outside talking while their kids ran around playing. and as much as i was at my end-of-day, and winding down some, i wasn’t really in my end of day, the place where you get to let the work drop until you pick it up again the next morning.

my work life is not simple. the past ten years have been prolific not only in visual work and written work, but in ideas sitting in files, sitting in file cabinets, sitting in my house. some of that has come with being a mommy, but the truth is i haven’t let go of the battle between what i have to do and what i want to do, and the result is hours in both. it isn’t my type-a personality or my tendencies toward workaholism: i am too exhausted for either of those anymore. and i don’t believe it is some cloud-wrapped, lofty idea of what should be, must be, or will be. the journey of a creative soul is not an easy one; there are many like-minded and creatively driven people in my life that have made the concessions necessary to pay the rent, the mortgage, the bills. enough of them to know the creative journey doesn’t necessarily end up as the happily-ever after we hope for in art school.

but it is there still, the path, the choice, the journey. what drives it, that thing that keeps us going, when we’re tired, or out of ideas, or blind-sided by the stress of the unorthodox paycheck? i have learned to understand it as just a part of who i am, the side of me that strives to see meaning and poetry and authenticity in this life, that makes the twenty hour days that are not about the forty-hour work week paycheck a manageable decision. worthwhile. wrapped in the golden thread that exists between our younger ideas and our somewhat more seasoned knowledge. golden because the mix of the two is such a beautiful thing to understand and experience.

i recently met a person in whom there was, for me, an immediate feeling of kindred-ness, the kind that comes the moment you slam in to someone and realize you get to be an audience and have an audience and you want both. not for the narcissistic need we all have to feel important, but for the deeper, soul-nourishing connection there is when you meet someone on a similar path, with a similar heart, who sees you and who you know feels seen, just by the tone in their voice, the earnestness of shared conversation.

suddenly, i was starving. ravenously. as though i’d been eating something like, grape-nuts, for months, but had just come face to face with a plate of my favorite pasta drenched in olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. with a gorgeous bottle of chianti. and mixed greens with goat cheese. fresh bread, and maybe some chocolate in there somewhere too. i had my appetite back, and with it came curiosity, and gratitude, and the most tender appreciation for human connection. i’ve been working so hard, and so singularly, for so long now, i have forgotten what it feels like to have a big appetite, and to satisfy it. the path to realizing our work, it’s meaning, where it exists in our life, is immeasurably important, but it can be a chaste one. it’s easy to forget to feed one’s soul.

tonight i said goodbye to my new friend. time and circumstances don’t allow for a friendship, and my heartache around that is surprisingly painful. it’s like i have to put the plate of pasta at the very back of the fridge and pretend i didn’t have a bite or two. but i know it is there, and i can look at it every once in a while to be reminded of how great things taste when you are really hungry. i hope in the back of his fridge my friend has a plate of pasta, or something exquisitely delicious, and gets to be reminded, too.


5 Responses to “hunger.”

  1. Ruth Says:

    mais oui, bien sur, ma pus, bonne appétit! Et merci bien. c’etait super, d’habitude.

  2. myriam Says:

    your blog is hungry, but your life is full. full of courage, richness, blessings, thoughts, escapades and laughter. oh how it is full with your laughter!


  3. Sophia Says:

    heartbreakingly lovely my dear. melancholy yet redemptive. it inspires me too, to trust that the path will unfold. thank you. sending much love, soph

  4. javier Says:

    If you are hungry, then… I am hungry too.

  5. Inger Says:

    As always, I go to another place and out of time when I read your blog. One of my favorite places to go. Thank you for your words.

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