I’m guest-blogging at Kat Heckenbach’s today on story symbolism and the cagey writers behind it: “Yes, but What Does it Mean?” If you recall from prior posts here, such as Why Your English Teacher Was Right, I consider recognizing symbolism to be an important tool for understanding the subconscious mind. Or, shall I say, that our subconscious recognizes symbolism, but our conscious mind is only able to do so if we’re wide awake and aware.
I don’t believe I’m wide awake or aware at this moment. As I indicated in the title, I’m in a peculiar mental place. For twenty years, I worked on writing and publishing, working very hard toward the goal of traditionally publishing works of merit. It was a very difficult decision to give up this dream, but I managed to do so roughly one year ago. I tuned my focus to completing a mechanical engineering degree, which I was, and am, still excited about. My plan was never to give up writing altogether, but to relegate it to a hobby and self-publish my work as I saw fit.
Now, I’m a little lost. I didn’t have the money to pay for classes this semester; I couldn’t find a job that would offer me the hours I needed to make payments. While this is disappointing, it’s also strangely freeing. I no longer have anything at all to strive for. I gave up my writing-as-career dream. I have no contracts. I have nobody waiting with bated breath for my next book. I don’t have to attend classes. Heck, I don’t even have to finish this degree I’ve barely begun. I’m completely free. It even occurred to me that I could sleep until noon and remain in bed reading for the rest of the day and nothing cataclysmic would transpire. At a certain point in motherhood, children become–on a sliding scale, of course–self sufficient.
While you might think this is a depressing realization, it isn’t. It’s very much like being part of the camel herders from India, whom Robyn Davidson traveled with and wrote about in her book Desert Places. Although it’s been years since I read that book and, undoubtedly, the group’s nomadic lifestyle has been further curbed over the years since she traveled with them, I recall her noting that they were so low on the caste system that they operated outside it. While this state of being could be problematic, it is also freeing.