Tuesday, April 2, 2013

eight months

I think I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the saying ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’ It has been a long time since my last post. We said goodbye to San Francisco and put the sofa on the street. My little brother got married. We got a dog. And for the last six months, we have been living out of a van in Mexico.

The first month it was hot. The second month it was hot. Every month except for this month has been hot, and still there are its hot moments. I foresee a lot of heat in my future, and I am not excited about that. I can do nothing in the heat. I am useless.

 My dreams have always involved travel and writing, but I never really foresaw this. This is a different sort of travel than I have ever known, travel as a way of life, travel with no foreseeable end, travel by day, by week, by month. Some days we don’t travel at all, but we are still traveling by default. For once, going home would require way more effort than staying abroad.

 Everything has changed. Every day is a different adventure to find plumbing, food, shade or sun, and a quiet place to spend the night. But every day is also the same. I write, the same as always, and I spend a great deal of time thinking about writing. I finished the novel that I started almost five years ago, up in Alaska. It is not the novel I set out to write, but it is finished and out there and I wish I could say I am proud, but that elusive emotion has yet to appear. We are not so far removed as to have abandoned all of my personal ambitions, and so I am waiting for the moment to be proud, to be relieved, to be anxious about other things like the book selling.

 It's been eight months since my last post. I don't need to broadcast my thoughts like I used to. But I still need to record them. That is why I write at all. My memory is hazy at best, and I trust what I write to be an accurate record of my past. Maybe my diaries are molding in a storage unit somewhere south of San Francisco, but at least I can see pieces of myself online whenever I want. For better or worse, The Internet Is Forever...or at least until someone locks it all up behind a paywall. I just want to throw one stake down this month so I can remember more than a feeling of contentment, but a feeling of hope.

Hope isn't as readily imitated as contentment. It's much more elusive and extreme. The worst times are when you are without hope. There was a time in this blog when I was very low on hope, and that has changed. It has taken many years and many failures. I am still unemployed and now living mostly out of a van, but my life has never felt more true to myself. I finished secret plan 437b, a book that I have been working on for a long time. It was first labeled as such in this blog on June 30, 2008. That was almost five years ago. Hope is beginning to fade as rejections start to trickle in and I find myself in this strangely familiar place of which I need no reminder.

The prospect of failure is different when you’re by yourself, away from family and friends and social norms. On the one hand, failure seems less fatal as long as you can live with it, without seeing it reflected back in anyone you know. On the other hand, it is all the more personal because you’re the one who insists on doing it. Still, maybe rejection doesn’t get any easier to handle, but starting over or just getting back in again does. And maybe that is one thing that is different. Travel makes it easier to think of new beginnings, and reminds you of the payoff of long hauls.

There is a strong likelihood that it will fail (AGAIN) but right now, there is all this wonderful hope, the kind where I almost don't want to find out what happens next. And this feeling--just wanting to revel in the moment...I suppose that's the very definition of content.