After a short while, we drove over to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to hear local writer Rachel Dickinson speak about her work as a travel writer. Rachel talked about how she got started writing travel articles, how she fell into being a bird watcher, and where her writing has and is taking her.
She filled in her talking with a background of images. A huge screen covered the wall behind her showing places she has been: Peru, the Falkland Islands, Russia, and many more. As the images passed by, I had to avert my eyes. They were stunning pictures- too stunning, too moving, too reminiscent of my past life. A huge ache rose in me for the times when I could and did hop on a plane that would take me around the world. To anywhere I wanted to go.
I tried to focus on what Rachel was saying, to listen to the cadence of her readings, the structure of her stories, the way she used her words, but the images behind her were large and powerful. One image slid into another, and then there was a scene of a vast grassland. Short, grazed grass on rolling hills as far as the picture could capture. Open space. The grey sky was pierced by a white sun in the distance that shined a light across the land. A light that shined into my eyes. I breathed into that space. Enjoying the moment of it, the fresh air that seemed to somehow conjure into the room in which we sat, I was grateful. It was like a dream. A dream of release and air and space that I so need right now.
It got me thinking about dreams and wants. It is different to dream to attain something in your life than to simply want it. The wanting only leads to more wanting. Want something all you like, that doesn't help you get it. Rather, it is the dreaming, the scheming, the doing, that pushes you to attainment.
I dream of being a successful writer. I can't sit around wanting it to happen. I have to take steps, my own steps, getting up, getting out, stepping into a blast of cold arctic air, listening to other writers, breathing in their words and images, that will turn my dreams into reality.
In an effort to keep my dreams alive and to continue to avoid the life of Jack Torrence, I think I'll get out one more time and head to the State Theatre of Ithaca next week to watch The Shining and see Jack go crazy again. It'll be a good reminder that getting out of the house, no matter how cold it is or how sick I feel, really does help keep a cooped up writer in balance.