Life is so fascinating. If I lived 10,000 lifetimes, I couldn’t do, learn, see, say, taste, or meet all I would love to. I’m neither Hindu nor Buddhist. Even if I were, I wouldn’t remember my previous lives, so being one doesn’t even count for more than one life. We only have one life to live. Maybe I should write a soap opera show with this brilliant title. Oh. Right.
I attended a symposium this past weekend. A Navajo workshop speaker shared how, growing up off reservation and also being college educated, he wanted to live on reservation to know how it felt, including not knowing from day to day from where food or money would come. He told how he made a three-year commitment, he would survive like his people did during that time period, or else up to the point where he would have to declare bankruptcy.
Screech, went the tires of my thought-car. How is that the same? He always had an out. Always. Unlike those who live their entire lives on reservation. And then I crashed right into my own lifetime as a writer.
What gives me the right to write about cattle round-ups (I’ve only been on two), or wildfires (I do recall the heart-racing “will we survive hiking off this mountain” and other times “will our house burn”)? What gives me the right to write about life in a small Lake Michigan town in 1873, when I don’t even live in that town, let alone not in that time? And what gives me the right to write about unicorns when I’ve only met one… Oh. Right.
I may not really have 10,000 lifetimes to live, but there are millions more than that to read about. (Yea, books!) And there are millions of stories scrambling to escape from my head. (Yea, writers!) In this one life to live today, read some, write some, talk with strangers and with friends, do something out of the ordinary, and come live 10,000 lifetimes with me.