I haven’t been writing much since I’ve left Esalen, which feels fine at the moment; but I do have lots of material from my month there and this one is the first one I looked at this morning … with tongue firmly in cheek, here’s a rant from the days of Esalen!
I don’t know how to write and even if I did, I have nothing to say. Now take those words off the tip of your tongue and stop rolling your eyes – resist oh please resist telling me how moved you were by my last read piece, how I touched you with my vulnerability, economy of words, vivid details or humor. Please. Give it a rest. And please oh please don’t go on with the ‘there-there’ thing. Because really, there’s nothing left in me to say – there’s no writing prompt that will prompt what isn’t there. There’s no feedback to give of what more you’d like to hear from a place from which there’s not something to come. So, please no encouragement, no coaxing, no reminders that it’s just the critic talking – best just let me wallow in my woes that don’t even feel like wallowing or woes. I feel pretty unattached to it all, actually; and I’m just reporting what is so. So there it is. And don’t try to talk me out of it any which way. Leave me alone and let me be.
Ohyes, on this glorious day with the sun’s rays glinting off the gentle white caps of the beckoning sea – the softness of the warm breeze kissing my skin, the verdant green grass that cushions me from behind and which wafts through my nostrils – it all sounds so trite, doesn’t it, anybody could write that. And these gigantic cypress trees – are they cypress trees? No matter, they’re here, standing sentinel at the ocean’s edge, marking time as we humans come and go and find our way or not. Yes, here is the perfect setting for sitting here reflecting on how I have nothing to say and no real means with which to say it anyway. And so I will. Because after all, there’s nothing else I should or could or would be doing. I mean, I would be writing, if I were a writer. My fingers could / would be flittering across this keyboard and finding the perfect words to express the perfect feelings that would touch you in the perfect way so that you would be laughing the perfect laugh or crying the perfect tears and the whole scene would be perfectly perfect. Instead, it isn’t. So there’s nothing to do except look around at this land surrounding me, breathe in all of that perfection and trust that it is enough. I am enough. Even in my not-a-writer-with-nothing-to-say status in the world, I am enough. And so I’m bored now as I’m typing which reminds me that this very refrain is very accurate after all. Perhaps I started writing just now to test the waters, to see if indeed there is some remnant left in me who might have a little something to say. But now it’s confirmed. Nope, there isn’t and I don’t. So tell me, how is the hotshot L.A. director who’s coming in today gonna direct me on this one? (I could’ve gone for the rest of my life not knowing anything about his arrival!)
I went to the Cabin’s Breakfast this morning in town at Deetjen’s with 19 of my coworkers. It was a sweet offering – the Cabins Department goes out every month for breakfast as a treat to the team and as a small way to say thank you for all your work. It was my day off and I thought better of doing it, so that I wouldn’t have anything scheduled today besides Writing Circle tonight, which seems sort of a waste of time for someone who’s not a writer and doesn’t have anything to say; but anyway, I went to the breakfast. There were five of us in the car and I sat in the back as the driver drove way too fast for my liking, moving at a speed that seemed somehow way out of line for how fast us humans ought to be moving about on a planet that’s moving fast enough, way fast enough. 70 miles an hour down Highway 1 in Big Sur and into the rest of the world was a bit of a jolt out of the cocoon called Esalen since I’ve only been traveling at the speed of my feet for the last two weeks; but I kept quiet, as I find myself doing more and more these days and took in the extraordinary view, what I could see of it at that velocity, anyway. The talk was of this and that and nothing I remember now or remember then – idle chatter the kind which makes my skin tight. The kind that makes me want to stand up and scream – I don’t care an iota about what you’re saying – why are you jabbering on about nothing? Can you say something about something more meaningful than nothing and why is it you are talking so fast that my ears can’t keep up with you and why are you complaining about your work schedule or other drivers on the road or the price of gasoline and why aren’t you willing to take a chance of opening up in at least the smallest of ways or show at least an inkling of interest in another human being long enough to be curious about their life and their story and their feelings and thoughts rather than being totally enamoured and ensconced with your own every moment, moving so quickly that there’s no room for anyone else to even get a word or a thought in. Not that I wanted to, of course. And then I remembered that everything I think about everyone else is really just a projection and mirror of my own stuff and then I really had plenty to think of. I got even quieter. So I sat silently, crunched in the back seat, the floors of which were filled with garbage and wrappers and god-knows what else as we sped down the road with music blaring (“… oh wow, the music is great, can I get a copy, oh, of course you can have a copy, who is it, oh, I don’t know but I love it, yeah I love it, too – oh, it’s just so great, it makes me want to dancedancedance, just like I did the other night – did you go to that party – it was so amazing, why weren’t you there?! …”) and as everyone spoke all at the same time with big raucous laughter, I sat frozen on that dirty back seat, taking breath after silent breath and I wondered what, exactly, I was doing there.
It didn’t get much better at the restaurant. There were 15 of us crowded around a table (I tried to sit at the smaller table with my preference for relating in smaller people pods, but those seats were grabbed up in a moment) and the topics of conversation ranged from – ohgod, who cares what they ranged from – I didn’t pay much attention then and I certainly don’t want to recall it all now. It’s so much better when I sit here alone, surrounded by all that natural beauty I was just telling you about, and if there’s material to be droning on about, at least I’m doing the droning in my own filled head, trying, trying to listen to the quiet.
So that’s the current rant from a land called Esalen from a woman who has nothing to say and wouldn’t know how to say any of it even if she did.