Ginger and I have been out corkscrewing hillsides in the Issaquah Alps, trying to lose track of time and find ourselves in the woods. I carry my notepad with me and stop to write, and she comes to collect me. The notes are a jumbled mess, a meteor shower of ideas shooting in different directions seen from the corner of your eye, make a wish. Stripping off layers of imperfection, our work is never done. We come back sore and dirty and more alive.
I ran out of paper in my notepad and had to go back looking for available space, making boxes around other notes, writing in the opposite direction so as to not confuse different entries, dog-earing pages, tying them to former ideas through footnotes and symbols. When found, it’s the scene from The Shining where they discover Jack Nicholson’s been writing gibberish all winter — ‘All Work And No Play…’
And on the trail there’s an unravelling through the fog as it fades, the switchbacks and sudden streams we come upon. A dream remembered of an IT project manager I worked with, who visited me like a ghost, a confrontation with him in my dream, with my former self.
How I felt such feelings of hate and admiration for him at the same time, for being so good at his job and being such a dick and knowing it, not caring.
The guy who fired off voice-recognition emails with faulty software that rendered implausible results, garble, which could make him look like an ass but he still didn’t care, he just fired them off like gunshots in a crowd and it didn’t matter because he always got the job done.
And part of me hated him because I knew that’s who I needed to be if I really wanted to be good too. And our team had to develop a really thought-through strategy to align on how to manage him. To have pre-meetings so he didn’t derail. To sometimes slam our fist down on the desk and go off and swear before responding to an email. To sit there and bitch about him behind closed doors and at the same time, give him his due.
Ginger and I have now scoured out most of the trails on the south side of the mountain. I forgot my cell phone and didn’t wear a watch, emptying myself and cleaning out the lines, you can’t mix the new fuel with the old. Belief my essence needs some digging out, what they do in therapy.
And I never thought I would become a sports fan, let alone mix writing with sports, but our city’s football team brought us to tears on Sunday — not because they won, but how they carried themselves. How the quarterback, after playing the worst game of his career, held himself up to pull it out in the last two minutes, and then just wept on his knees crossing himself, head down. To trust in the practice, focus and believe.
It’s like learning a new language, when you have to rely on your ears to listen, your heart to speak, and your head to interpret the two. There are people in our German 1 class who don’t believe they can do it, you can tell just as soon as they open their mouths, their chests collapse inwards.
The against-all-odds attitude to fight is not just against the other team, the bigger fight is with ourselves. To dig out and hold ourselves up and say, Here.
Anyone can learn German, can write, can start a fire in the wilderness, can come back with two minutes on the clock. Faith is the knowing without the proof. Trust in the practice, focus and believe.