Monday, May 21, 2007

A Stunning One-Liner During Dinner at the Diner

Tuesday, May 8 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico

I'm having dinner at Zia Diner here in Santa Fe, telling a new friend about The MoonQuest and about how it has been part of my life through all but the earliest months of my conscious spiritual journey.

"Maybe," he says, "once the book is out you'll be able to stop wandering."

A shiver of such intensity passes through me, I think at first it's the air conditioning.

Then I inventory the past 13 years of my life...

I began writing The MoonQuest within weeks of a move that launched more than a decade of wandering. Within six months of setting my first words to the page, I had sold everything I owned and moved to Nova Scotia. During my 14 months there, I lived in three different places (each hosting a different aspect of my MoonQuest literary journey).

My life has been largely unsettled ever since. Even the seven moves in my six and a half years of marriage could hardly be described as settled.

Then I think of the opening lines of The MoonQuest, which have survived virtually unchanged since the second draft:

Na'an came to me in a dream this night. It was early. I had not been in bed long and the night was newly dark.

"It is time," she said, "time to fix The MoonQuest on parchment."

Toshar, the main character, is then told that until he tells this, his story, he will not be free.

"It is your story to tell. It is for you to fix it in ink, to set the truth down for all to read."

My friend's one-line insight (his name is also Mark, which adds a certain twist: as though the revelation comes from within me!) reverberates through me long past dinner at the diner.

What if I, like Toshar, cannot be free to truly end my MoonQuest until I have shared it with the world? What if my life path will not be fixed until this aspect of its story is fixed in print?

It's a humbling and explosive concept. But it makes sense.

Whether we're writers or not, we're all called to share our stories. We're all called to break through the silence of fear that has stilled our voices.

In the film Catch and Release one character asks the other, "Who do you tell your stories to?"

"I keep them inside," he replies.

By keeping them inside, he keeps everything inside and that's what holds him back.

In Q'ntana, the fear-strangled mythical land in which The MoonQuest is set -- a land where storytelling is banned and storytellers are put to death -- it is said that "all people were bards once upon a time."

One of the purposes of Toshar's quest is to restore that once-upon-a-time to Q'ntana.

Clearly, I carry a similar purpose in a similar time. All the work I've done over the past 13 years -- be it through my words, sounds, art and teaching (writing and otherwise) -- has been about empowering people to experience their highest potential and to share that passion out in the world.

It doesn't have to be through writing, of course. Yet I continue to be amazed by the number of clients, friends and acquaintances who tell me they're feeling called to write a book.

For some, the creative act itself is the release into the new. For me, apparently, the release comes in empowering myself to take the next step by publishing it doing all that's necessary "to set the truth down for all to read."

Until I do that, I can't move on. Until I do that, I can't take the next step in my writing, teaching and inspiring. Until I do that, I won't be free.


Joan said...

Does this mean that I will also stop my wandering once my book is out?
I agree that it is important for us to tell our stories, especially those that we have kept hidden inside. we go!
Thank you for being you!

Mark David Gerson said...

No promises! (As you'll read in the next post, there's a surprise addendum to that piece of guidance, at least for me.)

Meantime, congratulations on your book, which you were too modest to name I'll do it for you: In the Key of Life.

Mark David