Today’s Finding Petronella Kickstarter Update (Or: A Long-Awaited Update on the Status of Things)
Tuesday, June 16th 2015 – somewhere around 11:30am
The power is out at the Lake, and it’s raining. All the things that make life more complicated – cell phones, home phones, unanswered emails and things I feel I should be doing, facebook, internet black holes of jazzy titles designed to capture our waning attention spans (and cat videos, speaking of attention spans) – all have ceased. It’s the kind of day where you light candles and snuggle under blankets and watch the water show, the kind of day where all the leftover energy in the air goes toward powering people’s brains instead. It’s the kind of day I need.
One year ago today, wearing a pair of shiny neon adventure pants, I got on a plane to Finland. I remember how it rained for days before my departure, and I stood on this very deck wondering what the hell I was getting into, but not what the hell I was doing. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was following my gut; what I was doing was the only simple thing about it.
Have you ever stopped to wonder about the circular nature of things? How exactly one year later you could be sitting in the exact same armchair from your childhood, looking out at the exact same weather coming over the exact same misty mountains, with a pair of completely different eyes?
My book, like my journey, does not have a precise direction. I won’t truly know it all until I arrive. Actually, I don’t even think they are two separate things. My book is Part 2 of my journey.
I know it’s been a long time since my last update. I’ve been up to a lot. I moved the dog and all of my journals up here to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter, wished for snowshoes while I hiked around on a frozen lake under diamond bright stars, drank wine when the water was frozen, and wrote. The things I wrote didn’t suck so I jumped for joy and sent them into MFA programs, who, as it turns out, also didn’t think they sucked. I led a 10-day winter backpacking course with college kids that terrified me a little and an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon to study macaws. I beat a Navy Seal at leg wrestling. I rafted two great rivers and visited people I love in San Francisco, New Mexico, Colorado, New York City, and Vermont. I spent a lot of time going from a life speed of zero miles per hour to eighty and back again. I haven’t found the button for 45 yet, but I’m working on it.
Remember that time I thought I’d be done with my book this September?
As you and I both know, I’ve never written a book before. At the time I had no idea what would go into the writing of it, how one day I’d decide I had nothing important to say and the next, realize I have everything important to say. How key players essential to the story would mysteriously leave my life, and others would enter it. How I’d have to grapple with the fact that I don’t know the Truth with a Capital T about Petronella and probably never will (who does know the Truth when a war is involved?), but that isn’t really what the story was ever about anyway. How to write when the speed of my life is at eighty miles per hour, and also at zero. How to find a way to weave in my music, which plays such an important role in my journey and my life (stay tuned for that one – I’m so excited about the possibilities!)
This July, I will load every inch of creativity and humility I can gather into my father’s blue pickup truck and drive to Maine, where I will lay my lot at the feet of my professors and fellow students of USM’s Stonecoast MFA program for the next 2 years. I hope that by the end, I will be ready to release “Finding Petronella” into the world. I don’t know what the hell I’m getting into, but I know what the hell I’m doing. I’m doing the same thing I always do.
(And for the record, I am so! god! dang! excited!!!)
Friend, thank you for being part of this incredible journey thus far. You may not know this, but your involvement in this Kickstarter campaign not only funded my journey, but also a number of writing classes, conferences, and time to work on my craft. I spent it mindfully, carefully, and it lasted for an entire year. The understanding of how special it is to take a WHOLE YEAR to focus on your passion isn’t lost on me. Thank you for your support, and for your patience and trust. I never do anything slowly, but I know this must be one of them.
I will send another update whenever it’s the right time. Until then, if you happen to be in Portland, Maine from September onwards, please come visit! We will keep the fridge stocked with the best cheddar cheese and beer for miles.
With love and gratitude,