Thursday, 29 November 2018

by Cam

Hi. Tomorrow’s my birthday and I’m irrationally keen on turning 52. Forty-nine was an improvement over 48 and that trend has continued. I’m super excited for the next year.

View from Casa Emilia (where I am now)

Last week a friend asked me what I’m excited about these days. I blew off the question because shit. I was not expecting that question, and I had just been thinking how effing excited I am about certain things, and when he actually asked, like he read my mind, I blew a fuse. I couldn’t imagine explaining it all. So now that I’m verbal again, here’s the list.

A typical shed. You can see a teensy wedge of the Atlantic on the left.

I’m excited about the Azores. I love this place and it’s the first place I’ve found since I started touring the world where I really would like to live. It’s lovely – there’s flowers everywhere, hydrangeas and hibiscus and bird-of-paradise etc etc, it’s serene and so quiet, it’s not overcrowded, the houses are gorgeous in my opinion (traditional old stone houses still painted white), there’s great cycling and hiking – and so forth. I’ll be back.

Traditional chimney. Also sky.

I’m excited about my writing. Two reasons. One is that I opened the manuscript for the novel that I worked on last spring, the one I’ve been writing (or not writing) for YEARS, to discover that I’d made more progress and the writing was better than I remembered. Yay. I might get through a first draft while I’m here. Also: This is complicated to explain, but for a long time I’ve questioned whether my interest in writing is genuine. Just last week I got really honest with myself about the fact that I have been writing for what I would call addictive and injury-based reasons (praise, validation). Simultaneously, it was also clear that I’ve been pursuing it for good reasons, too. So now it’s super fun to know – fairly sure, anyway – that there’s something real there at the core of all the confusion.

Succulent garden outside Casa Emilia

I’ve been able to kind of disengage the praise-and-validation part. It’s like, I clearly feel that I still do wish I could have a respectable career, a relationship with a publisher, things that would show I had vindicated and proven myself. I’d love to sit in an editor’s or agent’s office and hear him fawn all over my writing and receive a five-figure paycheck. I can sort of pat myself on the head and say, yes, I know I want those things, and that needs to be worked through. But with that acknowledged, it seems that now I can go do my writing over here (gesturing off to the other side), and I’m totally free of those pressures to impress. I can write what I want because I’m not on that program anymore, and now what anyone else thinks of it doesn’t matter. It’s just me here now. I’ve stopped second-guessing and questioning myself because IT’S MY PARTY. All of a sudden writing is much more FUN and INTERESTING. And I’m SO grateful to have reached this.

Yay, flower.

I’m excited about dance and my plans for that in 2019. Ever since I had the idea of dancing around the world for a year, I’ve wondered if I’m really going to do it. Up till a couple of weeks ago I still felt like this is waaaaaay too out of my box and too expensive and risky. And then something clicked. Maybe it was watching Billy Elliot and maybe it was before that and that’s why I finally watched Billy Elliot. Maybe it was from listening to Bryan Adams one morning first thing when I got out of bed and dancing like crazy to “One Night Love Affair” and feeling how happy I was doing that. And there was an ingredient where I noticed that I’ve been waiting for Someone Else to make these big decisions for me, and that’s stupid. Whatever the reason, I’ve made up my mind. AND I AM SO EXCITED.

Cow pasture. This has nothing to do with dance. Unless it reminds you of Julie Andrews.

I’m excited about this new pasta dish I invented and am eating like five times a week now. Saute a minced clove of garlic and a fistful of chopped walnuts in olive oil while the pasta cooks. Just till it starts to sizzle, then turn the flame off. Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with the olive oil etc right in the pan. Lots of salt and pepper cause I’m a salt and pepper fiend. So good.

Pasta alla patricia.

I’m excited to have quit coffee FOREVER THIS TIME. A few days later my abstracting client asks me to summarize the 22 November Brexit declaration on a super hot rush basis, 24 hour turnaround. You know what I said, right?

The last cup.

I’m excited about the forward movement I seem to be making on my spiritual path. Some people reading this are going to know what I’m talking about and others might raise their eyebrows, because I don’t talk about this with everyone. Guess what, I believe in God (the real one, not the mean nasty church one) and for nearly ten years I’ve been on a spiritual path taught by a guy named Jesus, by some weird coincidence, who lives in Queensland, Australia. Some months ago I finally understood something he told me years ago, that I “don’t want the truth.” I’d thought he was referring to a specific issue, but he wasn’t, he meant it generally and I finally saw that. Which led to becoming a bit more humble and willing to listen. I started watching the assistance groups from 2016 again with lots more openness.

A ruin. People renovate these.

Which seems to have led eventually to a number of pennies dropping. Including, just very recently: “Holy effing shit. Not only does God exist (which I knew before), this God really is like Jesus says, and this Way really works, AND IF THAT’S TRUE ………. if THAT’s true ………… and I think it IS …………” It was a mind-blown moment. I’m not sure exactly what happened, what it was I “got,” or maybe I just became somehow more open to the possibility. It felt like a massive amount of doubt suddenly evaporating, like fog clearing, and then standing there dumbfounded at the view.

There were a lot of things listed after those last dots, very exciting, beautiful and motivating things. Which created giant new levels of desire and sincerity to continue doing the work. (Like, WHY would you NOT??) The desire in turn has increased my humility and openness, which in turn have brought clearer and super encouraging guidance, which in turn has fostered the desire. Whee. I’m still slogging – of course – this has lit a fire under me, but obviously I still have facade and addictions and resistance, it’s a step forward one day and a step back the next. I’m pushing to get closer to my terror and keep pulling back and I just keep coaxing myself forward. But to have this new knowledge or openness or whatever it is, the feeling that this Way really works, and everything that means – holy mackerel. I’m telling about this because it’s the MOST EXCITING THING IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW, and it’s high time I became more open about this significant aspect of my life, and also, someone asked.

I haven’t even mentioned motorbiking! That’s in the cards for 2019, too. I need more practice and just figured out how to get it in a really fun way. Ha.

So those are the highlights. I’ll post again next time there’s anything to tell you.

A road where I often walk was cut into the hill, walls like this on both sides maybe 10 feet high in places, and the road’s really narrow so it feels tunnel-y. The yellow’s some kind of lichen.




Kith 29 November 2018 - 11:47 pm

Happy Birthday Cam! 52 is a great age to be. Coffee has become a good friend, I couldn’t kick such a good friend out. Savor it occasionally and it will warm you when you need it the most

admin 1 December 2018 - 12:19 am

Thank you. It’s good so far. And coffee? Some friend. Keeps me up all night when I want to sleep, gaslights me (‘no, you’re not ____, everything is juuuuuuust fiiiiiiine’) and if I ignore it for ONE DAY it kicks me in the head. Reminds me of certain relationships I’ve had. Newp.


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