Writing is momentum. When I allow my hand to run across the page— driven solely by what Natalie Goldberg calls Wild Mind— anything can happen. It’s why I show up. Why I’ve always shown up. The first to arrive and the last to leave because I couldn’t risk missing out. I was desperate to witness every second of my friends’ lives. Mine was too pedestrian for words. A firsthand account was essential in order to soak up sensations for remembrance.
This ingrained drive to bear witness can be traced back to a 1940’s children’s book Anything Can Happen by Mary Geisler Phillips and Mabel O’Donnell, and illustrated by Dorothy Todd. The book is an It’s a Wonderful Life kind of story for kids. All this great stuff happens to a boy named David— new shoes, train travel, a ride on a firetruck— just because he decides to show up and participate.
Whenever I embrace David’s anything-can-happen mindset my life flows. Case in Point— my first acting tour. I went to visit a friend, who took me to a theatre opening, where I met a director. The music was so loud, I’m not even certain we heard what we said to each other. A month later my friend called to say the director wanted to audition me for the roll of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If I hadn’t said yes to visiting my friend, or yes to the theatre gala the job offer wouldn’t have happened.
Although I no longer perform, characters still populate my life. They dance on the page, well, not always. Some days they dig their heels in and dare me to quit. I refuse. Because as long as I keep my hand moving, and do my best to surrender to the momentum, my imagination will eventually lead me to the realm where anything can happen, and a story will rise.
What is your Anything-Can-Happen Moment?