Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Dragon Speed Question

The Question

Son: If you were flying on a dragon, would you want one that goes slow and steady or one that races all over the place? 
Mother: I would definitely go for the slow one. I take risks with words, not speed.

The Moose's favorite show for now is The Backyardigans. I think he was mulling over the flying dragon episode when he asked me the question.


Risks I Take

I sat there drinking my tea considering how true it is that the risks I take in life are never physical, never daring feats, it is not me. Blurt out something uncomfortable? Ah, now that sounds like me, always aiming for the elephant in the room except I'm not graceful enough to do it eloquently or humorously, but still, I can't resist the impulse. Recently, I had been cautioned to consider what I write regardless of its veracity. Telling me not to write is akin to asking me to impersonate someone else.

A friend’s son invited over a schoolmate to play. My friend was working about in the house while the kids were in and out. The next thing he knew, the boys were crying, yelling. The schoolmate had fallen from the second story window to the ground below. The schoolmate was scratched up, but nothing was broken. My friend called the schoolmate’s mother to tell her what happened. I interrupted here and said, "Wait. There is no way this is the first time this kid fell out of a window.” My friend chuckled. I was onto something. The schoolmate's mother confessed this was not the first time her son had fallen out of a window. That kid must be like a cat with nine lives and daring enough to not be intimidated by windows despite having fallen before. We live up to our nature.

I blunder through words like a tornado on the Kansas plane. I don't give up. I keep going until my thoughts are spent. I use words incorrectly and still I keep plundering, bludgeoning, onward in my attempt to fashion a meaningful thought. My physical being is safe and is not even remotely interested in risks. My little light aims to brighten a path to some new thought, some new place in the mind, to some consideration outside of where I started, where I was. This is where I am called to take risks in life.


Trying to Say Something

Some writers speak for a whole generation when they tell their stories. Some hit the flow just right. The thing is even if I screw it up, I'm happier for having tried to say something than never having said anything at all. If someone thinks a story should be avoided out of discomfort, I'm thinking the truth is lurking some where nearby that discomfort and I need to get closer to it, not further away.

At a party, I'm a wall flower- uncomfortable in a crowded room and awkward with chitchat. I tend to go for where I am in the moment or depth, either of which implode in a social setting aiming for surface frivolity. I so wish I could do it better. An old friend who excelled in social settings could gingerly add a dose of humor and a squirt of truth to her stories, and have me in stitches and carry the conversation. I loved her graceful social presence but that is not me.


Some Aims to Consider

We could aim for so much more for ourselves, for each other, like learning to live with ambiguity, like stoking other’s passions be they for words, projects, or business plans. It did strike me that in the past I have respected people who climb mountains, cross deserts, and bicycle across Australia differently than those who speak the truth whether in a poem, a difficult moment, or in a meeting. I’m not sure why I put the physical over the mental when I’m not like that. How much of it is the world and how much of it is me? I’m getting better at valuing each thing for what it is and recognizing what works for me. Everything doesn't have to work for everyone, and surely there is room for skepticism.

I’d pick the slow dragon and spend my time thinking of what challenges me instead of hanging on for dear life while the dragon flies pellmell. That's my speed.

What's your dragon speed?
What's your dragon speed?