Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.-The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich
There are very few novels that I find myself seduced by. The kind that grabs you from the first line and you can't put down. Or the kind that stir something within you. The kind that make you feel. The kind that you find yourself connected with and whose words and characters are blurred between their identities and your own. The Painted Drum is one of those.
My writing mentor (whom I listed as my first choice because of one of those "feelings" of intuition) suggested that I read it. The author fluctuates between first and third person point of views and that's what I'm trying to do with my own novel. The strange thing about my mentor is that she's one of those subtle intuitive types that seem to address more than just what may be going on with your craft. To say that she knows me completely would be a lie. But it would also be a truth.
Someone once told me that it takes a very strong person to survive what I've survived. But there is a line between strength and self-containment. For me it's not about fear or courage. It's a matter of not making a mistake. Who wants to do that? Who wants to admit that the sun didn't exactly set like the postcard showed it would?
What Erdrich writes so eloquently is true. There is risk in living. There is the chance of falling when you take flight. There is a real possibility that you may have to rewrite your lines, repaint your dream, or perhaps keep dreaming until you wake up in the picture that feels like home. If you're alive, you feel both good and bad. Sorrow and hate. Disappointment and failure. Abandonment. Triumph, joy, and ecstasy. Love. Commitment. Compassion. Connection. Wholeness.
That's why we come here to be human. To become whole. To experience what we could not otherwise. To risk what could and should be. To listen and learn not to resist that destiny we planned before we entered our bodies. To feel the dreamer's firm answer that says go and pack up what you think you know.