As we drove out of the swim club on Memorial Day, the boys and I decided that the Dairy Queen would be an appropriate detour before heading home. The plan required us to change course and, without a word, I took a left where we usually go straight and jumped on the highway towards our tasty destination. I thought nothing of it but from the back seat, Chase piped up:Mom? How do you know how to get to ALL these places?
I answered without thinking:Well, I lived here for a long time and I’ve driven on these roads many times before. I don’t always start from the same place but I can think in my head about where I want to go and figure out pretty quickly the best way to get there. You wait. Once you start driving, you will be able to figure it out, too. You may not know the way today. But you will. Someday soon enough.
“Oh,” Chase replied. He didn’t say anything more but it only took a glance in the rear view mirror to tell he was thinking hard about all the places he would learn to go. And I started thinking about the places I have no clue how to get to…yet.
This morning, as most of you are sleeping, I will be boarding a flight for Chicago where I will connect to another flight to Portland, Oregon where I will drive two hours to the coast at Manzanita where I will spend five days meditating on life with eight wonderful women whom I hardly know. We are coming together from across the country to ponder our creative paths and destinations. For some time now, I’ve been more than a little lost in this regard, knowing I have something important to share but not exactly sure what form it should take. I have no destination.
I was invited to join this merry band by my friend and kindred spirit, Elizabeth (at Life In Pencil) who I met several years ago at the Taos Writers Conference. Since we met, we have walked on similar writing paths. We both began blogging with a partner, we both worked with agents on elusive book proposals, and we both lost our blogging partners to other endeavors. I marvel at the beauty of Elizabeth’s words. I think she likes my writing voice. This mutual respect led her to ask me join this group of creative souls and compelled me to say yes after pondering it for 30 seconds.
In the last half a year, our group has become The Tribe, coined by our organizer Meghan and embraced by all of us for its metaphorical appeal. A tribe is driven by a common purpose, mindful in its inclusiveness, and fiercely protective of its members. It feels like a very safe group with whom to explore my soul. I have been craving this time together despite the fact that I have no idea what to expect. This will be the first time we will meet as a group.
Elizabeth and I will be joining Meghan, Sarah, Celina, Sophia, Darlene, Melissa and Rebecca for five days of exploring our respective creative journeys – where we have been, where we want to go, and how the hell to get there. Among us we will have photographers, artists, writers and filmmakers. Two of the tribe, Lindsey and Stefanie will join us the next time around. We come together with issues both shared and unique – but clearly all in need of support and nurturing. Each one of us is strong, fragile, insane and practical in our own ways. I can’t wait to meet them all.
This trip is unfamiliar territory for me. But since I am currently rudderless anyway, the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m hoping to settle on a few creative destinations for myself. I’m also hoping that there are members of the Tribe who have been where I want to go — and will help me chart a course. I, in turn, am prepared to do the same for them. And together we creative nomads can assure one another that we will all learn the way eventually. Someday soon enough.