I’m missing. I have been for some time. At times I surprise myself by showing up again for a moment or two, but most often I only see the self I once knew in flashes. In glimmers and glimpses.
I’m simply not myself these days. At least not the self I once was and want to be.
My voracious appetite for culture and story is missing. My incessant need to be writing and creating is missing. My curiosity and energy are greatly diminished. My drive for engaging conversation is missing. I’m going to find these parts of myself again if it kills me.
I think the primary thing that is missing in me is hope. A variety of circumstances and failures and belief shifts have left me without the ability to believe in my own significance and potential, without the ability to believe the things I do and create can have weight and merit.
I’ve always been a realist. I’ve never been able to blind myself to the darkness and evil and violence in the world. And still, most of my life I have always been obsessed with finding beauty buried in the trash.
My friend Lindsay recently reminded me that I once said something along the lines of, “I don’t believe magic exists, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish it did.” Lately, that has manifested in me only in a lamentation at the existence of so many impossibilities. But there was a time not terribly long ago when it manifested in the desire to lean into those impossibilities, to see the magic in the mundane and ordinary in a way that made the world a more beautiful place to live.
Without hope, I’ve lost the will and ability to write, I’ve lost the passion for writing that was constantly bubbling over into unread blog posts and random bits of fiction. Without hope, I’ve lost the ability to read the way I once did, where I engaged so many different texts (be they books or stories or movies or songs or people) as artifacts waiting to be pored over to find goodness and beauty and truth about what it means to be human and alive.
I need to rediscover my hope. If I simply wait for it to reemerge, I may die before I find it again. I’m not letting go of who I was and want to be without at least going down swinging. Whatever Thomas might have meant originally, his language seems pretty apt to this moment for me. I will rage against the dying of this light. I will not go quietly.
I’m going to try to write my way towards hope. This won’t be the first time I’ve tried, but I simply have to try again. I must. I know no other way.
I am hoping I can find a community of writers and creators to share this journey with me, this mad leap to something better. Whether that be in person or virtually, I think the chances of success will be higher if I’m not alone.
More to come on what specific form this might take, but for now, consider this the opening lines of an invitation to collaborate with me toward hope and creation and life.