many people will laugh at me for admitting this (especially since i’m soon to be 31) but i adamantly believe that adults can have make-believe friends. or as i prefer to call them, ‘silent muses’.
it shouldn’t just be the five-year olds that are privy to seeing pixies, space cowboys and magic ponies. by birth right – all of us born in the 1970s and 80s – we have lifelong residency in the land of make-believe. its chief architect, fred rogers, ever-encouraging us to never lose sight of our inner child.
when we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit. it’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives. (fred rogers)
nearly two years ago i had one of those rare figment-of-my-imagination-becomes-a-real-life-playmate social encounters. you know, the type of hello that forms a camaraderie with a person whose confidence and conversation is endless. for me this person (unbeknownst to him) helped me find a joy while exploring our respective creative spirits. we would stay out late on school nights and play at the lincoln hotel. our conversations making a great difference in my life.
he is no longer near and i miss my make-believe neighbour turned real. so morgan hamilton if you’re listening here is a transcript of what our next conversation would be about …
these words by earl long, an american politician from louisiana (1895-1960) hit me hard the other day:
dont’ write anything that you can phone, don’t phone anything that you can talk face to face, don’t talk anything face to face that you can smile, don’t smile anything that you can wink, and don’t wink anything that you can nod.
so how about this. i’ll put all of my smiles, winks and nods into an envelope and tie it up with string. traveling by post they’ll get to you some day. we don’t talk face to face any more but surely through words there is something fascinating you have to say.
regretful living … is there such a thing?
you may recall that this was an underlying theme to many of our conversations. we usually disagreed — you the cynic and i the optimist. so when i read a post by marc and angel about the 9 things no one wants to regret i thought “hmm … i wonder what i would list as number 10?” well, dear friend? what is the one thing you don’t want to regret? for me, i would regret not including my forwarding address.
nostalgia versus denial.
in one of our first conversations you told me that to be nostalgic is to be in denial. i’ve used many stamps (and words) to convey to you that nostalgic is healthy, reflective bliss. that to be nostalgic is to remember what we’ve endured. self-preservation — internal survival — through the power of memory. to cling to the past — nostalgic revival — is toxic, yes. but to ignore how you got to this moment, the present, well that would just be a silly mess.
it’s a hard knocks life.
i suppose we are all a student of the school of hard knocks. graduation is inevitable. life doesn’t require any prerequisites. just some thick skin and an attitude that if you are beaten it doesn’t mean your broken. our personal experiences the truest form of education indeed.
finding my place in a scattered crowd.
you know those days when you feel like you’re an acrobat, suspended high up in the air. twirling. those days when you feel like dark clouds are swarming in on your bright mind. suffocating. what strings do you pull–what weather do you turn–to get you back down to solid ground?
i’d like to think that i can just lose myself in a million white balloons. i came across william forsythe’s installation scattered crowd not too long ago. his artistic genius–“an air-borne landscape of relationship, of distance, of humans and emptiness, of coalescence and decision”–purely captivating.
it’s moving magic is definitely something i would like to talk to you about. staring at the images of the carefully blown balloons, manufactured bubbles of pristine naked illumination, i got to thinking about my own air-borne existence and what it really means. from way up here this is what i see:
trading in trying to will other people’s philanthropy to publish my own prose … reinventing the knor foundation to help young canadians turn their dreams into discoveries … enrolling in the summer writing program at the jack kerouac school of disembodied poetics … tirelessly submitting writing samples in hope that someone will hear my determined voice … publishing the first volume of an independent zine … curating the social dialogue … working on a manuscript for a popular fiction piece … and raising some creative capital to open the doors to the writer’s library, a thinking and conversation space where readers become writers.
yes it is a full landscape but this is what i see. my mind is my playground. ambitions in swing. and when i look to the sky do you know what it is i see? one bright red balloon amongst a scattered crowd.
……well, the beer is now warm. they’ve shouted “last call”. the stamp i licked is getting dry. so i’ll cram these muddled thoughts in with the other papers, smiles, winks and nods. send news when you can. the land of make-believe is never too far. just close your eyes … and i will meet you there.
later mr hamilton. until our next chapter or conversation.
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