Defining Yourself with your Writing… or Not

ArtistYears ago, in the early nineties, I had the oddest experience. I was grappling at the time with defining myself. Was I a writer? An artist? A musician?

The problem was, I was borderline “good” in all these areas, but instead of just settling down and concentrating on one, I would go through addictive, obsessive-compulsive bursts. At that moment in time, my current creative addiction was working on a cartoon strip about a heavy metal band, named “Forky Mendez”. But I also had to work for a living, so when a friend invited me to an entrepreneurial business seminar, I went.

The presentation was given by a fabulous woman with platinum hair, a hot pink business suit and stiletto heels–the epitome of Millionaire Success. As the presentation got heavily under way, my mind began to wander–and I “saw”, standing in the aisle in front of me, a large wolf with mesmerizing golden eyes.

It was a vision. A genuine, bona-fide vision.

Suddenly, the presenter broke off. Turned out that she was also an authentic medicine woman, with thirty-five years Native American apprenticeship/training behind her. She told us that “Wolf” was standing in front of her, insistent that he had a message for someone in the audience.  The vision was so strong, I knew it was for me.

“A Message from Wolf”

pawprintShe asked if people would mind if she delivered the message. They seemed intrigued, and quickly told her to get on with it. She began to walk down the aisle towards me–and stopped, turning to a woman over to my left, some rows ahead. She began to give the woman a message about being a caretaker to her mother, addressing doubts and fears she was facing. I remember feeling astonished, while the Wolf continued to stare at me. (“But the message is for ME…”)

She finished her message, and started to walk back up to the dais. Then she turned round.

“There’s one other person… Wolf isn’t finished yet.”

She walked up to me and said this (nearly word-for-word, as I remember it):

“You’re at a crossroads. You’re wondering which path to take–should it be art? Music? Writing? Wolf says, the answer is this: YOU are the medium. You are the artist. You can choose whichever communication media you like: It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s the best one, that day, for delivering the message.”

She then went on to describe how Wolf had suddenly transformed into her minds eye as a “cartoon wolf, with a fat cigar”–which I found interesting, considering I was currently absorbed in cartooning.

She did not know me. I was just a face in the audience and she was just a hot-millionaire-type presenter in a hot pink suit, but that was the message. And I saw a Wolf.

Make of it what you will. I’ve never been into New Age stuff or the Woogie-woogie. I didn’t wear crystals or frolic naked in the moonlight on Samhain. My fantasy life/outlet was strictly limited to voractiously reading books like Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and Ursula K. Leguin’s Earthsea books.

But I never forgot what that presenter said; and I’ve never forgot “seeing” the Wolf, with his hypnotic yellow eyes.

How do You Connect?

Does it make me a better writer/artist/musician?

I’d like to think so. But it is what it is. (Many experts would say that not specializing detracts.)

Does it make me a great one in any of these areas?

No, of course not. I’m still on the journey. But during ten years of being a musician, another ten as an artist and the current ten as a writer again, writing has always been the one thing I’ve never put aside: And if I’m not writing for a creative outlet, then I’m working in the field. (I’ve been a magazine and newspaper editor, newspaper general manager, freelancer, and I’m currently a ghostwriter rediscovering poetry and fiction.)

I’m far from the best in any of these fields, and still happily learning, but ego is gone from the transaction: And that’s where the need to define can actually hamper. Nowadays, I love every new thing I learn, whether that be technique, trick, fact, factoid or earth-shattering revelation.

It’s all about communication. It’s all about being alive and connecting with others.

It’s all about the joy.

What keeps you writing? Why do you love it? How do you connect?

I’d love to know.

Leave a Reply