What’s nice about the writing life is you’re never really alone in it. Yes, you may start out alone carrying your armful of fuel down the road in the form of the images you use and the stories you tell, but then suddenly here comes this nice other person who offers to help you carry the kindling all the way to the hearth, as fuel for your ‘fire.’
What I’m trying to say is that that person is your reader, and your reader meets you halfway on any road, coming with his own fresh take on things. He or she sees what you’re trying to say, sometimes more clearly than you see it yourself. I think this is why telling what happened to me, telling what ideas burbled up in my mind can act as such an antidote to loneliness, leading me forth out of the stuffy closed room of my mind.
I wrote the other day about how my young grandchild seemed to have somehow lodged himself inside the Play Place structure at McDonald’s and was sobbing inside it.
I had no clue what to do and that was the story I thought I was telling here Tuesday.
It wasn’t until I got to the end of my telling that I suddenly saw the whole event as a metaphor for parenthood: Our kids go where we can’t follow and so on. And ll of that was me carrying my fuel alone on the road. But the everything changed when this one reader name ‘met’ me on the road and added his own interpretation. In the comments section here he wrote, “Perhaps [your little grandson] was not so alone in that tube but rather quietly listening to another guide, in addition to you of course, who pointed the way back to you.”
‘Another guide’! Another Capital ‘g’ Guide! See? A wholly fresh take on the same event.
My little grandson’s predicament had suggested just two ideas to me. (1) I fall short as a caregiver and 2) We can’t go before the children we love, taking joy in their joy and quelling their fears. The time comes when they will go where we can never follow.
But now here was a whole look at the event, that acknowledged what else might well be happening in this world every day, in fact, realms and realms beyond the understanding of us bossy grownups, who are so smug in our belief that we are the ones who move the world. Another Guide indeed! Thanks, fellow traveler. Thanks for helping me see that this child will never be alone, truly.