Sometimes, following your dreams can be a tricky procedure, especially when you spend a great majority of your life not even realizing that your dream was even a “thing”.
When Charlie and I first became acquainted back in 2015, I didn’t realize that writing was that thing. It just seemed to come easy, especially if Charlie was in close proximity; it was almost as if she was my muse and it required close contact to be able to channel her thoughts.
When a dream is first conceived and the cells begin to multiply into a entity all of their own, it’s vital that we listen to the right people who can speak life into that bundle of cells. And conversely, the wrong person with the best of motives can kill or at least hinder the same dream with a passing comment.
Mi hermano Nathan was the first person who suggested that I ease into the world of writing by posting Charlie’s ramblings on Facebook. The coward in me loved this idea, as if it didn’t work out, I could A: blame it on the dog, and B: delete the posts and fade into the ethersphere. After a multitude of cringe-worthy posts where I inadvertently ignored things as vital to writing as paragraphs and punctuation, I was ready to take my toys and go home. But I have another respected friend, David, who knack for expressing unique ideas is coupled with a mutual respect for classic literature. David was the first person to say those magical words, “you are a writer!”. It was akin to someone struggling for months to learn the guitar, only to have that moment where someone recognizes those three ham-fisted chords as “Sweet Home Alabama”. Suddenly, you’re a musician! Not a very good one, mind you, but somewhere along the way you’re suprised that you left one title behind in favor of a new one, even if it’s merely inside your own head. It was David’s reference to Voltaire’s quote “fools revere the chains that would bind them” as a comparison to Charlie’s message of The Crate that prompted a migration away from goofy dog stories. towards something else.
But you can also listen to the wrong voices. I had another very good friend who made a random comment in an misguided effort to be encouraging: “do it for fun and you won’t be disappointed, as it will never go anywhere else”. There is no doubt in my mind that he/she didn’t realize the impact of these words, but I still remember the exact time and place I heard them: in my company car, southbound on Hwy 167, milemarker 10 at 5:37 PM.
Since then, these comments have been like two snarling dogs facing off inside my head; positive and negative, yin and yang. Although both will always be in attendance, which one will prevail? The answer is always the same: the one that I strengthen by feeding.
So, here we are, eight years into this dream, and the random posts have yet to progress much past the early days. I’ve been told that every story has to have a protagonist and antagonist; of course, Charlie is the protagonist, but who or what is the antagonist? The mouth breathing moron that abandoned her in the crate? Nah; that lady has been long since consigned to the archives of anonymity. MacDuff? While he is as obnoxious and annoying as is caninely possible, at least he’s not deliberately malevolent; although opinions may vary.
If there has to be an antagonist in Charlie’s story, the perfect villian would be Time, “ticking away the moments that make up a dog’s day”. But while it is true that you can’t slow it down, it’s conversely true that you can’t speed it up; for every thing there is a time and season. I’m realizing that much in life is much like riding a motorcycle: if we get too relaxed and nonchalant, opportunities pass or worse, someone else does. But if we can also get so fixated on the target in the distance that we can miss out on those things happening in our immediate vicinity, right here, right now. Then what should be a relaxed yet focused approach becomes a death grip on the throttle, effectively strangling the moment out of the overall experience.
Is any of this making sense to you? Me neither, but it’s what goes through my head when I’m out on the bike.
See you on the road…