Why my pocket stones …

I suppose it’s a bit of an inside joke, calling my creative words pocket stones. Writing keeps me from loading my pockets and jumping into the void. It’s my armor against the outside world, the one I can’t control. And I enjoy the creative process. It suits me. I’m a gardener* and live to see my flowers grow.

But I also think fondly of engraved rocks, the kind you carry in your pocket to ward off worry. I see them as tokens of the doer-dreamer. A friend gave me two stones when I moved to New York City. Everything was magical then and laden with meaning, like those rocks. I lived on West 70th street and Columbus Avenue, and walked to Broadway every morning to get to class. I would stop on the corner and look down the busy street to see Times Square in the distance. I was sure I had been reborn. I survived the chrysalis and was transformed. My destiny was unfolding. Anything was possible. With sheer will, I could make everything I desired come to fruition. My potential was infinite.

Engraved with destiny and perseverance, the stones represent the two poles of my dream pursuit, as my friend explained. I couldn’t have one without the other. My destiny would only come about if I persevered, and I could only persevere if I was chasing my destiny. I would grow tired otherwise and give up. I liked the thought of this very much. I still think about it, twenty-two years later, as I pursue my current dreams. They have changed, of course. I no longer want the same things, but the life I’ve built suits me better. And so do my dreams.

I can’t say whether they’ll change again. But I know it’s possible. If I decide to give up on writing, I’ll know it’s not my destiny. I haven’t been writing stories since I could hold a pencil, and I wasn’t the kind of child with her nose in a book. I was often out on adventures, in my backyard, or at the park pool, or in the basement in front of the TV. I grew up in the eighties, with what seemed like unlimited freedom. But I also lived in my head. All. The. Time. When I think about that now, I realize I’ve been creating worlds out of nothing forever. That I enjoy writing fiction makes sense. And whether it’s my destiny to continue doesn’t matter. I’ll know if I never give it up.

* “The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows.” – George R. R. Martin

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