Why does one sail? To explore, to journey, to see new places, to have fun, to relax, to allay fears in some instances. Some sailors say they feel most themselves on a boat, on the water. There is no hiding of the truth when one realizes we do not have dominion over the world, but that we are at the mercy of things that are basic and very much more than ourselves—the wind, the water, the weather. And if we don’t adjust our sails, change course, become one with the wind, our sails will luff, we will stop in irons, we will lose our compass bearings, we will lose sight of the horizon. We will be in trouble and our exploration will cease.
And why does one write, read and share stories? To explore, to journey, to see new places, to have fun, to relax, to allay fears in some instances. We seek to find ourselves in stories—and so often, we can and do. And we seek the truth in stories—we use story (or myth or song or poem) to tell our own stories and to assure ourselves we’re not alone. By reading and sharing stories with one another, we find a safe place in which to adjust ourselves, change course, become one with things that are at once basic and very much more than ourselves—the imagination, the light, a community. If we don’t experience story in some way, we will be in trouble; our exploration will cease. In fact, I think we will cease if we don’t explore our world and ourselves through stories.
And so it is as we live our lives and live our stories—forging our relationships, raising our families, doing our work, growing up and growing older, loving and losing—that we are as vessels on an ebbing and flowing tide. The earth’s very survival relies on the wax and wane of the moon, the ebb and flow of the oceans; so too does our own self-evolution rely on our embracing the inevitability of change, our willingness to balance the comfort of the familiar with the surprise of the new, and our staying open to the messages we may not at first understand, but which, somehow, usually fit perfectly into a space in ourselves we didn’t even know we had.
The past ten months since my layoff from a job at which I worked for 19 years and which I had come to let define me, have been, by turns, turbulent, thrilling, rocky, steady, cacophonous, and still. In one moment, you can be comfortably close to a familiar shore and in the next, you are flung out to sea, forced to question whether that shore had indeed been one of safety at all, forced to question your own expertise, forced to question who you really are. And then, there comes a moment when you realize that you’re still who you always were, you haven’t lost what you know and what you believe; you’ve just been blown onto a new course. And in whatever ways we decide to handle ourselves finding a new harbor, that’s how we become better navigators than we’ve ever been before. From that moment on, how we conduct ourselves moving towards – and away from – new harbors for the rest of our lives confirms who we really are.
|drydenbks boat |
by katherine tillotson
Today I've set coordinates for a new venture—a new adventure. drydenbks. The waters on which I launch this vessel are, without doubt, uneasy—this is a rough economy with no clear picture on how my family will be able to afford health care, this is a digital landscape for book publishing which requires much learning of new vocabularies and acquiring new skill sets, this is a country that ranks somewhere around 17th in literacy and doesn’t place enough cultural or societal value on books, this is a time of extreme corporate greed and so many systems broken. These same waters, however, feel buoyant to me, and the smell of the ocean has always given me strength and clarity. drydenbks comes directly from what I know so well, what I do so well, what I believe so deeply—there’s enough strength and stability in that to enable whatever flexibility, commitment, conviction, and hope are needed to stay afloat. Today I begin a new story, and by doing so, find my way towards new harbors. And I'm convinced new harbors find us when we need them most.
(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks llc