Hey, it’s another night in my nonprofit class, but this time I’m more engaged, despite my writing this now. I made it over an hour, and was actively participating! After a while though, the constant barrage of student questions at the panel began to feel rote and forced, and I turned to my handy pen and began marking up another blank page. I’ve been doodling and writing in pen a lot in class, so that’s what my mind turned to. I think that class time is turning into one of the only times that I am stuck with just a pen and paper. It leaves me with two options: draw art, or write art–or I guess I could pay attention in class, but I have the attention span of a goldfish, so likely not.
I was doing an in class essay for my Death, Afterlife, and Dying class last week and noticed that my hand and arm was getting pumped out from it. I felt physically exerted in those tiny little muscles that holding a pen and writing requires. I hardly write substantial amounts in pen anymore. It’s something that I’ve never experienced. It may be that I’m a much better and faster writer than before and that in the longer amount of time it requires to write out words in pen my brain is producing tangents of thoughts faster than my lame little hand can scribble, or it’s that my pen writing muscles have atrophied because I spend most of my time typing rather than handwriting.
What I’m finding, as the black ink vomits my thoughts onto these blank canvases, is a romantic and intimate practice that I’ve long forgotten. In fact, it was the process of hand writing my deepest thoughts through poetic prose rants that inspired me to get a college writing degree. In the upper levels of academia the emphasis on our writing changed from art to professional production. It took away the love of words and poetic dreamy wordplay that I enjoy swimming in most, and replaced it with a compartmentalized style that exists purely to monetize.
This discovery projects a bigger picture onto the screen of my current life–rediscovery. My ambition to climbing set me free, but my ambition for climbing also made me blind to what a grand composition life should be. Through injury, climbing is now teaching me how bland that composition is when you only allow one instrument to play the same tune day after day. That’s like eating pizza everyday; you can do it everyday and survive, but it gets old quick. Why allow the things we love to play themselves out until we forget how passionate we used to feel when doing them? Climbing became like that, more like a job than a passion, and I became more concerned with goals and objectives than I was fun and safety. Yep, I just said that.
My experience with writing became the same, where production was the goal, whether professionally or academically. Then I started this blog, and I rediscovered and fell back in love with the writing I most enjoy–passionate narrative. And most recently, I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy writing in pen on paper, and the inclusion of prose poetry is pretty evident when compared with the purely typed.
When I got injured I went back to the ocean, what I knew before climbing, and experienced and understood what it was that brought me back to the healing pacific waters of California’s golden coast day after day for years. Hopping back in the water I was reminded that climbing is not the most vivid experience there is, but that it’s just another form of passionate expression. But we are creative talented creatures who don’t need to limit ourselves to any single endeavor. We can fill our plates with a plethora of colorful foods, people, and experiences.
On Saturday I climbed up a classic on El Cajon Mountain, a three pitch 5.9 called Leonids, with a good friend and long time climbing partner. As I ventured up onto the crux head wall on the second pitch I felt bliss wash over me–the pure enjoyment of movement and absence of adulterated thought. I didn’t scream, but instead just looked down at Sally and said, “I understand why I gave up everything for this. It’s just soooo good.” Ironically, it took a break, an absence of climbing, to truly appreciate how fulfilling the climbing experience is.
There is an entire world out there, and our experiences and passions are merely instruments in the grand composition of life, and the masterful composers are the ones who can synchronize these sounds, people, and experiences into a fluid and ever-flowing masterpiece. Order is the enemy. Routine is a cage. Expectation an insidious inner turmoil amounting to a disappointing experience as damning as any purgatory. The key to my salvation, to my freedom, is to let go, to stop resisting the ebb and flow, and allow life to compose me, and resist the urge to project my control upon the world.
Tomorrow is going to be great. Solid mixed swell, and epic offshore conditions are on the way, but that is tomorrow, and I’m still now, and I can’t put into words how content I am with my childish explorations back into the inner to openly rediscover who I am and what truly makes me tick.