Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaBloPoMo: Inspiration Found After Too Long Digging

Today is one of those days I don’t have time to think straight or sit in this chair to write.
Today is one of those days where I’m short on inspiration.
Today is one of those days that NaBloPoMo is made for…
The need to be away from the computer kind of day. The heart pounding with craziness, and busyness, and excitement kind. The warmth of touchable, flesh and blood, kind of day.
But we’ve made it two weeks (today), halfway through blogging each and every day of November, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel today even though I’m dying to say, “Screw it!!! I don’t have time today!!!” But I just can’t.
In an effort to make it easier, I intended to do a quick search of Huffington Post (to which I am addicted) and resurrect an article I’d seen a while back. Unfortunately after 15 minutes of searching, I realized it was, just maybe, on my other favorite site, Brain Pickings. And indeed, it was.
Candy Chang, an artist and designer, started a project in New Orleans called “Before I Die I Want To…” She turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard for people to share their thoughts anonymously.

"I never expected such an amazing outpouring of responses so quickly. Within 24 hours, the entire wall was completely filled out. And the responses range from humorous to overwhelmingly thoughtful — from ‘be a YouTube sensation’ to ‘go 200 mph’ to ‘be completely myself.’ I hear that people are gathering at the house and it’s stopping traffic. I’m blown away.” ~ Candy Chang
This sent my mind into a spin. What would I write? At first, I was concerned my secret aspirations were coming from a fairly superficial and seemingly self-absorbed place. Then I got to thinking, it is my life. I'd want it to be for the people I care about most. And me, too, of course. Is that shallow?
It became an international sensation and after reading a follow-up article, I felt better about my superficial wants.

“Indeed, the answers brim with seeming individual simplicity which somehow unravels the collective complexity of the human condition: World peace, curing cancer, and learning to love might not be the most original of answers, but something magical happens when anonymity strips us of the compulsion for originality and lays bare our deepest, most unoriginally human and heartfelt longings with crisp, urgent sincerity. In aggregate, they are a reminder of what truly matters — a moral lens on what should matter — as we face the immutable fact that one day, when we turn to look back on our lives, all the cleverness and pretentiousness and witticism will dissipate into dust over the burning coals of our innermost, simplest, most earnest desires for a meaningful life.
(I love that paragraph above!!! Trueness to self is difficult, at times, considering marital and family dynamics.)
The magical realization of doing this anonymously didn’t change what I would write; it just made me feel like I could be more true to myself. Write how I really felt. What I really wanted. It’s not something like world peace, or anything universally important, even though I wish for those things.

Before I die I want to live in Italy for an extended period, splitting time between Rome, Chianti, and the Amalfi Coast. All the people I care about would come stay with me (separately or in small groups).

We’d be perfectly relaxed. And laugh, talk and hug. Spend undistracted, quality time really “seeing” each other. We’d revel in the small and important moments that make sharing time one of the most exquisite feelings on earth.

What do you want to do?


Jack Steiner said...

After the garbage I just wrote I am inspired by that chalkboard idea. Got to find some time to write something based on that. I love it.

Samantha Brinn Merel said...

This is so cool!

Stacie said...

This is an interesting question for a cancer survivor. I used to dream up all of these fantasies. But when faced with the possibility of dying, I just wanted my normal boring life. So I'm not sure anymore!

Gina said...

I love this idea and I wonder if Chicago was one of the sights. I think I would have read about it if it was. You don't write garbage!

I've been tossing this around in my mind for over a week. You know, when half your life (or better) is over, these things ring true. I just have this sense that I need to make the most of time.

Write something. You know I'll read.

Gina said...

I get what you are saying not from a survivor standpoint but from a potentially life changing accident standpoint. My life (or one ceasing to exist or function) could have turned out much differently for everyone involved. I'm happy for my day-to-day life too considering the alternatives.

What it boils down to is I don't know what I'd REALLY want.

Gina said...

I know, right? I would LOVE to happen on one of those chalkboards some day and spend time writing out my "want".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Gina. I wonder if this has been copied in any other city yet.

TMWHickman said...

I want to live in England and explore all the castles and historical places I can find.

Unknown said...

For claiming to lack inspiration, the beginning of this post was just beautifully phrased, Gina!

Robbie K said...

That is very inspiring & I honesty don't know what I would want to do.