Sunday, November 13, 2005

That future, This now.

My boyfriend and I, back in high school, used to ride our bikes down to the canal and lie on the grass while the stars came out. We’d talk about space and UFO’s and what we thought the year 2000 would bring. Back then, when my body and mind were fifteen, the year 2000 was mythically distant, more of an “if” than a “when.” It would likely never come. After all, we’d NEVER be forty! And, we’d always be good friends…
We lost track of each other, of course. I remembered those conversations, the things we thought we’d figured out, and I looked him up in 1990. I learned that my long-haired British born boyfriend had joined the U.S. army, served abroad, come home with a bad leg, a devoted Asian wife and a psychotic paranoia. He didn’t remember the boy I knew at all.
But for me, all those starry nights stayed on and became part of who I would be, decades later. Back then, we were certain that we’d be scooting about in hover cars, Jetsons-style, have robots sweeping our floors, laboratories on Mars and amusement parks on the moon. We thought people would live to be two hundred and the forty we’d never reach would be, well, young.
Well, we nearly have robots sweeping our floors. My vacuum cleaner is actually pretty damned smart.

We didn’t anticipate personal computers in millions of homes, an internet that allows instant conversations between persons continents apart, the mapping of the human genome, AIDS, cars with navigation systems, polymerase chain reaction, video gaming, blue Gatorade or turning forty.

The things that we didn’t expect far outnumber anything we anticipated, though a vital space program would sure be appreciated. I really don’t enjoy telling Orion that spaceships aren’t real.

For years I operated on the premise of my artistic dreams. Sometimes to the demise of my health, sometimes to the demise of my finances, and sometimes, to the degree that I’ve been called a visionary. I followed that vision in everything I did, sometimes not even seeing the day I was moving through. My life and my art seemed two separate entities. Eventually I looked around, noticed what time it was, and realized that I most likely wasn’t going to complete the script I’d written for my life. It was quite a shock, actually, and knocked me about for several months. I wondered how I’d failed, how I’d failed to see that I was failing, and how the hell did it get to be 2000?

It was very depressing. I was very depressed. I was so disappointed that I didn’t want to create any more. I thought about lying on cool grass under the stars and dreaming about the futures that never came, and my own, that had arrived seemingly unannounced. I sort of shut down. I spent a lot of time underwater, and sitting quietly, and being instead of doing. I read. I walked. Sometimes I panicked. Sometimes I cried. Mostly I laughed at what a fool I was. Finally, I got a good view of the now that is nothing that I’d expected and is everything I did not.

I’ve decided that it’s probably a good idea to not worry terribly about trying to control what will or won’t happen. I’ve decided that it’s also probably a good idea to keep doing what I’m doing and watch to see what does happen. I’m thinking that things will be a lot more interesting from here on out. Time will tell. It always does, dammit. Besides, I like living without the script. It takes a certain talent to do improvisation well, don't you think?

Is it Sunday night already? Well, time for tucking the Orion unit in, some hot chocolate and some time well spent reading a bit of Gene Wolfe.

Tonight's image was inspired by one of my favorite SpongeBob episodes...

Thanks for checking in.


jordan's mom said...

Dreams, by definition, are ephemeral, fluid sorts of things, aren't they? Try and nail them down, define and concretize them too much, and they have a way of misting and slipping and morphing into Something Else....

I think the rides at the amusement part that are the most fun, and most worth taking, are the ones with the tracks you can't predict. The solid, steady ovals are great for kids, but as adults we get bored with them. The Fun House rides in the dark, the Roller Coasters that whip and fall and curl and twist - well, they're not so boring. Sometimes you scream. Sometimes you laugh out of delight and joy. And sometimes you just shut your eyes and hang on as though your life depends on it......

Sounds to me like your "updated" philosophy of Being in your Life Now is more consistent with how you've always made Art. The best stuff usually comes out of the twists and turns, the unplanned-for, the unexpected. Dreams are good for motivation and general direction, but their realization is often oddly disappointing.

Had all those original dreams played out for you, I wonder whether your Art would be as cool, as inspired, as Dangerous as it has become? I wonder whether you would be as cool, as inspired, as Dangerous as You have become?

Hmmmmmmm.....Monday morning musings. Thanks, as always, for your thoughts and your courage, Lisa.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Great weekend ending thoughts Lisa. I too remember being convinced that we would be out in space flying all over the place Battlestar Galactica style when I was a kid. I hadn't thought about it until you wrote it but it is interesting how many incredible, "impossible" things are going on now that were way beyond my childhood dreams. I often watch history channel shows and wonder what people during those times...whatever times they may be...would think of the world today.

What Gene Wolfe are you reading?

Anonymous said...

At 64 I have had so many twists and turns I had almost forgotten my dreams. Your words inspire me, and your art amazes me---time to dream again.

Derek Ash said...

Besides, sometimes, when you write a cript for your life, it's easy to make a typo, and instead of throwing your graduation "cap" you end up throwing "crap" and all hell breaks loose. And honestly, who needs that?

Better just to wing it, and let the art pour out of you like... well let's just say "cap".

Like I do, when I come on here and write something, and then later wonder if I shouldn't have.

Derek Ash said...

Wow, whay a typo there huh? Crypt... oooooh. Creepy.

Pixie LaRouge said...

Wow. And here I thought I've been alone in all my recent muddlings, grumblings and otherwise-bitchenings. I'm still a little lost, still don't know what I want to be if I grow up (granted, at 30, growing up should have been a little further underway, but hey...), but suddenly, for the first time in several months, I feel like maybe there are other stragglers on the same path. And I'm comforted.


Derek Ash said...

I may be flippant, and I may make comments that seem morose, or pointless, or tasteless, or offensive or (hopefully) funny, or (even more hopefully) downright silly... but yes. We're all in that same boat, I think.

Is this where I thought I'd be ten years from ten years ago?

If THIswas where I thought I'd be... I sure as hell wouldn't be here.

K said...

Ten years ago I was sixteen, and probably in the depths of gloom. I had no clue what career I wanted to follow, but thought the rest of my life would inevitably involve steadily working harder and harder, never having any fun. And continuing to feel like a stranded Martian.

Ah, sixteen.

Since then, mostly good things have happened. But I bet my sixteen-year-old self would be rather unimpressed that I haven't got a novel published yet, and she'd certainly be surprised to hear what I do for a living (mind you, so would my twenty-four-year-old self).

She wasn't much of a one for compromises. If I regret anything, it's the loss of that youthful certainty and outspokenness, which often made her unhappy with the world, but at least she knew what her opinions were.