“My friend, wait by the wayside. Linger a while by the wayside and see, I’ll come wandering by there in no time. Wait by the wayside for me.”
I’m so drawn by the call of these lines in the opening of Scott Cook’s song Wayside. I’ve been lying these hot summer nights, staring at the shadow of trees on darkening skies with this song playing over and over. I am so caught up in the idea of tangents and journeys and what you find when you are drawn aside.
The first time I started an online dating profile I carefully gathered my pictures: showing me in different scenes and activities, aiming to visually tell the story of who I was and what I did. When I got the pictures all posted (along with my clever, vivacious, well written piece of prose) I mentally stepped back and looked at what I was presenting as a whole; it was then I realized in all the pictures I’d chosen, I wasn’t looking straight at the camera in any of them. The electronic equivalent of not making eye contact; I was copping a shy on the internet. Not surprising, and a fair representation of how I was feeling as I dipped my toe into the world of online romance, but stunning to see what your subconscious will do for you when you ain’t even looking.
I’ve noticed my subconscious at it again in the last few weeks: the pictures I’ve been posting on things like my new flickr profile, the image on the Seekers poem – all shots of me looking off to the side or wandering off camera. Like the call of Scott’s song, I’m being drawn wayside – away from the road I’ve been on, willing to linger a while and wait. And finding myself wanting to end sentences with an ellipse, like there’s always more to come…
I haven’t been much for writing these days, I’ve gotten all quiet inside, happy to just look, listen, and wait. I’ve been much more interested in reading the beautiful and fascinating poetic replies to the We Are All Seekers sohbet, the poems and comments arising from the Gift poem, and the deep and heartfelt discussion on the Puberty Ruined Everything thread. So grateful for the conversation, I love the tangents people take from the seeds I start – going places I never expected, and delightfully surprised by the journey of their minds.
I’ve got a giant whiteboard in my livingroom, with all the writing “work” I need to be working on, and I’m not interested in any of it. It’s my heart, my lifeblood, my greatest joy and inspiration, and I’m strangely content to just leave it, to just wait. I’ve got this funny feeling words don’t matter, and it’s hard to write from that space. I don’t mean words don’t matter in a nihilistic “what’s the point” sense, just that words are just words and what can they really say anyway. I remember something The Chink wrote on his cave wall in Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get the Blues: everything is important, nothing matters; nothing is important, everything matters. And that makes perfect sense to me when I think about writing these days.
A friend mailed me a newsprint clipping, on it nothing but a single quote from Rumi:
Words are good, but there is so much that is more than words. You can tell someone you love them, and that says something; or you can look them in the eyes, and that says something too. Right now I’m really digging all the things that are said when you don’t say anything at all.
There are places you go when you go where you think you want to go, and there are places you go when you forget about having to go anywhere. I love the open-ended randomness of that, so ripe with potential and the unknown. Waiting, willing to be sidetracked. So beautifully uncertain. It just feels so right in my soul right now. In the mail with that Rumi quote also came a wall hanging: In the midst of chaos lies creativity. Such a lush idea! Letting go of plans and goals, delving into the churning unknown, what will come of that?
This piece isn’t coming around to any grand answers or conclusions right now, and that feels kinda right too. Open-ended, free to go anywhere. Wandering wayside, we’ll see…
Oh, and Scott Cook is one of the forces of beauty and goodness in this world, he’s travelling all over Canada right now. You should go see him if you can, buy a record, and just say hi – he’s one of the most genuinely friendly people I’ve ever met.
More on the value of doing nothing at: I Quit