Posted by: scintillatingspeck | December 4, 2013

Purpose, questions, community.

It’s been an extraordinary experience, already, this journey I’ve committed myself to.  It’s been five days since it coalesced in my mind, all these urgent, untethered, floating bits of questions, insistently pulling me into the gradually-solidifying center of purpose.

What I’m trying to do, now, is both resolutely practical (by having measurable goals, like defining a cross-country itinerary with dates and locations and people to visit, preparing to raise a certain amount of funds, and writing a book) and a bit terrifyingly ambitious to me (since I’ve never made a journey of such a scope or written a book).  Still, measurable goals are achievable goals, and it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve worked really hard to make a pie-in-the-sky vision manifest into reality.  I’m reminded that all of the previous pies-in-the-sky-made-real were done as joint projects, with significant amounts of support from friends and family members and community members and those who were just plain thrilled to throw their hat into endeavors that felt meaningful and exciting.

I don’t think this journey is all that different, actually.  Yes, it’s profoundly personal, for both me and Lily, but I feel in my blood that this journeying, connecting, observing, and writing is a community effort.  What is art, if not a purposeful elongation of oneself to communicate, to bear witness, to experience communion?  What is my life, if not a womb-to-grave labor of loving art?  What is my art, or anyone’s, if not one lengthy, co-authored, illuminated epic poem, bearing the mark of every conversation, touch, gesture encountered?  Whose story am I telling?  Are any of our stories really “ours,” or once articulated, are they loosed on the waves to meld into one collective Narrative that rightly belongs to everyone, without exception?

I’m seeing more and more over the past year and a half or so that as I delve into writing, and concurrently, into embodying my life and not just living in my head, forces are set in motion that draw me ever closer to some key questions.  Rainer Maria Rilke suggested, famously, that one might seek to live the questions rather than focus on answers.  In keeping with that advice, I’m following questions like  What is community?  What does it mean to belong to a place, or to a group?  What is “home” supposed to feel like?  How do I understand my “place” in the world, or is that not the right question?  What are my priorities in this finite manifestation of consciousness?  Is life about making do with what one is presented with?  creating opportunities?  pursuing untraveled roads?  What is my responsibility to my community, my friends, my family (chosen and not), my only child?

I’m inspired and moved by all the kind invitations, responses, and support I’ve received in the past few days, from long-standing friends to people I’ve never heard of until now.  Thank you, loves, for the encouragement, solidarity, generosity, and even, yes, the expression of honest fears and pain and limits, all of it, I welcome it and feel it fully.  Every word, every touch, every gaze we exchange is another scintilla on the ocean.

Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor, 12/4/13





  1. Hey Scintillating Speck, that bit of writing today was very good. I only say that because it is so very similar to the language I use when I try to put thoughts to words. I think it’s great that you can say that you have previous experience working at making pie-in-the-sky vision manifest. I so relate to the desire to incarnate the mental life. Btw, I did not know the word scintilla before. It’s a brilliant word. 🙂

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