It has taken a lot of pokes and prodding; nudges and nurturing, to get to this particular…well, where I find myself.
From the assorted characters that line both sides of the finish line, one would think I traversed mountain passes; braved torrential obstacles; defeated flaming pitchforked demons, on my way to reach my personal mecca–the finish line of finish lines. I stumble toward the taut sash which represents the culmination of a mighty journey. The sound that bursts from supporters and friends feed the imagination the soundtrack to a glorious ending, where I, with my last breath, break the seal that completes my evolution from “big-talker” to “finisher.”
Chest heaving; tears flowing; shoulders shaking with relief, I am overran by loved ones who witnessed my pilgrimage. Strangers hugging each other fueled by the ethereal feeling in the air that something amazing has just culminated. Woodland creatures bow snouts and whiskers in homage to a mighty shift in the universe. I feel the whumps of palms on my back as I rest my face in the palm of my hands. Who’s celebratory taps patter along my back…I CARE NOT!!!! I revel in this galactically significant moment. I reached my goal; I breached the impenetrable void; i emerged from the self imposed restrictions that barred my way for years; I crossed THE FINISH LINE…
I guess a well composed Hollywood score would enhance the scene. Perhaps a photo-shopped enhancement of color with increase the visual amazement of what just happened. Maybe a nice touch would be a long lost child, weaving his way to the front of the crowd wearing a shirt advertising “he finished for me!” Maybe a lot of things…but for me-reality sets in. The crowd fades away. The cacophonous cheering ripples away to a meager breeze. The woodland creatures simply ignoring the vacated finish line area.
I do stand at the precipice of the finish line–nervous hands sliding along the top of the strung banner. I look around, alone, pondering how I really got to where I am…a finish line-but a different kind of finish line. One that doesn’t snap triumphantly, but compresses into a bungee-like V, potential energy, waiting to redirect me back on the course…no, not back on THE course, but simply back ON course. There is a big difference. Back on THE course suggests I revisit and conclude a path I once encountered. Back on course refers to an unknown and virgin entrance to a lane that heretofore, I have only talked about; described with bragaddocio; imagined in my head, and traversed in my imagination. It is a course, that has only germinated in my psyche and has origins only in my hopes. I have solicited advice and encouragement from those around me–Steve, Jody, Thor, Amber, Jeff, Amanda, Ben, HL–all friends who have promised to be at each water station along this path, a path that I, as of yet, haven’t entered.
I know I am not alone. If I simply commit to that of which I am passionate, those, who lined my imagined glory road, will really occupy that waiting achievement. That area in which I AM ALONE, is in making the decision to move forward. The boy who cried wolf lost the support of his associates after a number of faux crises–I don’t want my friends and family to abandon my personal finish line, simply because I hadn’t the perseverance or better written, initiative, to start a race with the commitment that never materialized into action.
My inactivity is inversely proportional to the love and hunger I have to write and share my stories. Like the potential energy in that elastic banner, my reservoir or eagerness and words and stories contains enough depth pressure to crush even the mightiest of metallic monsters (or self sabotaging roadblocks). That “potential energy” dwelling within me represents itself in my mind as Bradbury’s Porch.
I have always been a passionate reader and loved all genres of material. Name a work of fiction or a revered classic and I’ll likely come up with my take on those stories or great comparisons into which I would recommend further engaging. When I think of all the stories I have read, four stand out to me as mind-blowing (i’ll talk about the others later). One of which–perhaps the George Washington on my Mt. Rushmore of stories is Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. I loved the story and the end, and perhaps was overly influenced because as a young reader I hadn’t encountered such Dystopian ideas. Who knows, but what I do remember (and it may not even be a part of the plot, but something my mind put together) was that no Porches were allowed to be attached to a house. The reason being that the government didn’t want to allow a setting that would propagate thinking, or allow free time so as to generate ideas, or simply ponder what might be. Free will? Good heavens! Imagination? Speak not such ills! And so, although the porch never magnified it’s purpose in his story, Bradbury’s Porch firmly rooted in my mind the POTENTIAL of what could be. Maybe the potential of what my writing could be.
I’m lucky. I have a mental vault full of stories–novels, adventures, funny anecdotes, childhood stories, abc’s and bedtime tales…but like Bradbury’s Porch, they have not come to fruition. I hope that this essay sets off an unstoppable chain reaction that leads to such a finish line that even a parking lot won’t be able to support the words I get in print. Then, the boisterous crowd will not be roaring for me, but I imaging those ear deafening cheers will be for those who encouraged me along the way, and remained steadfast until i reached that swinging banner. At that point, it will be my privilege to step back and let my friends who stuck with me, run through the finish tape triumphantly–fists pumping, and my yelling will blot out the raucous crowd.
I mentioned several friends and associates who have encouraged me immensely. I know there are many unsung heroes and behind-the-scene motivators whom I have omitted and I apologize. I am a guy and my Y chromosome tends to deaden some of those acknowledgments that belong on my personal credits page. Funny. Usually you read about gratitude for those who helped a work come together. I want to credit many who deserve a standing ovation for getting me to the point where I can even begin a work. Those credits seem much more poignant and valuable for me at this point in my efforts. I have a couple nieces and nephews who really really inspire me. H and T, you know who you are, and get your pencils sharpened. We have a LOT of writing ahead.
You’ll notice one group of folks that were left out. My amazing wife and fantastic kids. Lots of stories to come about them, and by the time, good reader, you scour those stories, you may not think of them as so fantastic! I’ll include a disclaimer that despite their foilbles, they make no dad prouder. And my wife. I just ask her to please be patient..
I am getting there, amaze. Ti Voglio.
So, now I begin….toward the finish line.