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Living Juicy: Passion, Purpose, and the Perversity of Spirit

It’s not just peaceful and quiet in the wine country, it’s juicy and alive filled with wonder, color, change and possibility. It’s alchemy at its finest. Juicy, juicy, juicy. The grapes turn to wine with the help of Wine03human hands; the sun basks on our veggie gardens and produces food at the dinner table; the birds find food to feed their young in their twig-filled nests, and the peacock must do its mating dance and spread its blue-green feathers to show its magnificence.February 2012 043

All creatures have a passion and purpose. Every day they are busy at work to complete their mission. They simply must. This holds to true for people. Everyone has their own reason for being on this planet, if they just heed the call.

But the call does not come without its own perversity. The spirit must find its way through the obstacle course of life, and arrive if it will, dependent on its level of unbending commitment.

I learned about the perversity of spirit on Saturday when I took a writing class called, Writing as a Path to Awakening by Albert De Silva, author of the haunting memoir, Beamish Boy and Poet Laureate of Marin County, California. In the course, he shared an article by Rufi Thorpe, author of a novel, The Girls from Corona Del Mar. In the article published by The Literary Life, a young writer was asking the teacher, “Whether or not he should be a writer. Do I have what it takes?”

She answered, “that no one, no one can answer that question for you.”

On the verge of tears he went on, “But do you think I’m talented?”

She replied, “What I think is that talent is the least important thing about a writer. “What is important?” he asked.

She said dryly, maybe cruelly: “Perversity of spirit. Talent is the least important thing about a writer, compared to a love of books, which must be deep and abiding. The only thing a writer really needs is the emotional equivalent of a cartoon creature’s bouncy springiness, so that after being run over or blown up–or in the case of the writer, rejected and rejected some more–the writer is irrationally unfazed by even the most valid criticism and continues to work.”

We do what we must. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, leader, educator, curator, sculpturer, painter, etc.–it’s the perseverance and determination to see your goals and dreams come true–regardless of the Nay-sayers, the obstacles, the odds. Who cares about them and that? If you must create, you will.

I love this quote by Goethe.

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“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.  — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whether is Goethe, the poet or Nature the creator, they show us their creations every day through sheer will. Sonoma MPK 05

The truth is, the world needs beauty in the form of story, art, photos, cooking recipes, etc. and of course always is made from two essential ingredients: perseverance and an absurd, fun and strange sense of humor.

It doesn’t matter our age, what matters is our passion to create and stay juicy. The perversity of the spirit.

 

A Sense of Place

Clouds hover over our home as the leaves on the Maple trees start to turn. Soon, the sun will break and the sky will be painted in blue. There is a quivering in the air with the anticipation of fall. The day is just beginning and there will never be another one like it.

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Before the neighbors wake, I take a walk with my dog Ella. She came from the streets of Thailand, poor thing, only one years old. She lives with us now, where all is quiet, sure and still. Thankfully, she has fallen into the arms of safety, love and trust. She sleeps deeply every night in the knowledge of this truth.

Photo cred: Deborah Parrish

In return, she gifts me with time. The time to take meditative walks, to remember what’s important in this life. She nudges me, even begs me to join her and venture into the wonders of nature in the wine country. Mozart plays into my headphones as the violin serenades me through the lush green vineyards toward the back country roads of Sonoma. At this time of year, the grapes are alive with color and bulging with juice waiting to be plucked off the vines. 008

I pay attention to the living things connected to timelessness, to a mystical place I once came from many moons ago and where I will one day return; I look at the Sun, the Dahlias resting in a garden pot, the Mayacamas Mountains in the distance, and feel the aliveness of the human spirit, the dog spirit. They are one. We walk a good mile before we had back to our daily routine.

After an hour, I am back at my desk and spend most my hours writing about Sonoma, about the hidden music I hear rustling in the Redwood Trees, about hope and beauty. Somehow, the words mysteriously make their way onto the page.

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I write about place, my sense of place. The center of the Sun.