Two weeks ago I wrote on being a big fish in a small pond, The next paragraph is how I ended that piece. Following that are my more recent thoughts,
On first writing this, I finished with,“So I’m jumping,” but now I realize, like the child on the edge of the thirty-foot diving platform, I have some nerve building to do first,
What will it take? I went to a writing conference this weekend. The theme was supposed to be “Writing for Change,” and it was the first conference I’ve been to which didn’t have fiction as its main thrust. The conference turned out to be pretty useful, for I learned a great deal about how different submitting for nonfiction is from submitting for fiction, but I was surprised by how little interest in the environment there seemed to be. There were only three people there who were writing on it. Everyone else was writing on topics either autobiographical or dealing with self improvement.
Personally, the effects of my M.S. have grown. Most annoying has been the inability to manipulate paper like I used to. In fact, paper has become a major source of difficulty for me. I’m not sure how many times dropping the handouts from the conference has meant I had to pick them all up and rearrange them yet again. I also have to allow at least three times as long as I used to to accomplish anything, mostly because of inability to move more than about two feet without major difficulty.
Besides, I hate the message I am supposed to deliver. There is no hope in it. Not for those of us who want good news for our off-spring. How can there be any hope in saving Earth-based DNA ?
I have dreams virtually every night. They are often about Gaia. Last night they were about what might be an answer to the question above, “What would be enough to save me now,” for this seems to be an equivalent question to the “What will it take” version.
First a little background. In 2006, I went to the Mars Society convention in Washington D.C and spent several weeks in NYC following it awaiting an interview with a guy from a TV (or radio?) station that heard of me from one of his colleagues who attended a talk that I gave there. The interview never panned out, and perhaps I’ll tell that story later. The story from the dream, though, must be told now. While in New York, I stayed for a few days in the apartment of the roommate of my best friend in Brookline. He had just left it and was still paying rent.
I was just getting the ability to Trumpet back after loosing it for a decade or more, I’ve talked about this elsewhere. I had decided that I needed to practice it in public, as that was the arena in which it was hardest do correctly and the obviously most important venue to convey to strangers its unique and magical powers.
To this day, I find performing in public very difficult even though I have tried numerous times without the anonymity of the crowd, which NYC amply provided. I would go to central park and practice there.
There is a big lake there (by conventional standards) where joggers go in the morning to get their exercise and where I could Trumpet pretty much undisturbed. I would frequently practice there as thousands of people ran by. I was getting pretty good and the volume was very like it had been the first day I had discovered it. I would stand near the water on the edge of the track as joggers passed and let the full volume of the Trumpeting roar forth. It was great.
One day a jogger stopped and took up a position near me to listen. That seemed totally understandable, as passersby had often stopped at differing times to listen as I practiced throughout NYC. She remained until I was ready to leave.
I told her I was going, and she stopped me. “Please put your hand on my chest and do it again, “ she asked.
Taken completely aback, I asked her why.
She had breathed the dust from 9/11 and developed an awful cough that would not go away, she told me.
She wanted me to heal her, I realized.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more inadequate, I am not a healer. At least that has never been how I view myself.
I eventually put my hand above her breasts and Trumpeted once or twice, but the whole experience shook me and I went back to my room and cried for the better part of an hour. This was not what I had in mind from Trumpeting. It was not what I had in mind for me. It is beyond the level of responsibility that I want. I neither want it nor feel I can tolerate it.
Now a good friend has lung cancer. It is inoperable, stage four, and modern medicine has told her to get her things in order and given her an upper limit on her time on earth.
I have offered to work with her through Trumpeting, but have sorely lacked faith. Sensing that, neither she nor her husband have any themselves.
Why should they? If I had any such power surely I would just heal myself.
Perhaps healing her would give me faith. Perhaps that would, finally, be what I need to convey what I need to convey. At the very least, what I need is more faith.