In the last 4 months I have led a workshop, spoken or given a reading for entrepreneurs and creatives, yogis in teacher training, county school librarians, women in recovery, women in a correctional facility and a few people who showed up for a book discussion in a gas station garage. Each experience has been beautiful, terrifying, humbling and life-giving, resonating with the feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
The thing is, I never saw myself doing any of these things. Not in a million years.
Once upon a time I wanted to grow up to be a literary novelist who wrote High Art for literary readers.
In college I was embarrassed when my girlfriend said anyone who read my writing could understand it. There was no subterfuge. I hadn't planted any clues. Her poetry was beautiful and cryptic. I wished I could copy it. I wanted to write something that would leave the academics and critics scratching their heads while begging for more. But that wasn't the plan for me.
I never planned to start a summer camp for kids. I never planned to self-publish my first book. In fact, when I realized I had self-published my first book I cried my eyes out. I never wanted to look people in the eye while using words like hope and love and nourish and inspire. I wanted to be cooler and edgier than that. I wanted to give readings in crowded, dark, smoky cafes. I wanted to crawl home from seedy bars in big cities at 3 am and write about everything I didn't remember the next morning. I wanted to get married and divorced a minimum of 3 times so I could write about that, too. At the very least I wanted to go to an expensive graduate school so I could slum around with the other broke writers and drink and smoke and look damn hip and tragic while doing it.
But none of those things happened. In fact, pretty much everything I've ever tried to make happen, hasn't. But, everything I've stepped out of the way for while lending my arms and legs and hands to, has. In fact, lately I have been so overwhelmed by the possibilities, so excited by the potential and people and stories peering and popping out from every nook and cranny I look behind these days I can barely sit still. Turns out, I didn't have to plant any clues, I just had to keep my eyes open for the ones that hit me over the head.
I no longer want to read only the writing of the elite, well published, pedigreed few. I want to read writers who don't even know they are writers, people without a particular position or pedigree but rich with experience and yes, hope and inspiration and love, no matter how far down they've been or where they've come from or what they call themselves now.
I want to reading writing everyone can understand.