They used to say you’d end up in China if you dug a hole through the center of the earth. Apparently the person who coined that cliché was somewhere in South America at the time.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet and GPS, you don’t have to stick a skewer through the family globe to find out where you’d end up if you started digging today. This site allows you to pick any spot on a map, and the second map automatically shows your eventual destination. Turns out, I’d end up in the vast expanse of ocean off the western coast of Australia. In other words, I’d end up in the middle of nowhere, and most days that sounds just about right.
Starting last November, I pushed myself to write more consistently. Some days things would flow, but other days I enjoyed writing about as much as I would shoveling through the earth only to become stranded in the middle of an ocean, which is where I’ve been in the intervening months. (Didn’t know I’d made a trip to the other side of the world, did you?)
You would think that during the flurry of activity or in the lull afterward you would have seen more evidence of my labors on the blog or somewhere, but in my case, the opposite happened. When I’m writing intensely, I usually end up digging deep holes that tunnel into my memories, my psyche, and my heart. And when I’m in those holes, I’m not keen on coming back to the surface because though the journey is often rocky, uncomfortable, and a little too hot for comfort, the thought of sharing what I find through essay or story often proves to be more terrifying than the process itself.
Should I have picked a different starting point and destination? What if someone reads what I write? What if no one does? What if it stinks? What if it doesn’t? Should I be doing something more meaningful and productive with my life than digging a hole to the Indian Ocean?
All of these questions go through my mind as I pick away at the layers of thoughts and ideas that could end up on a page. And at least every other day, I’m tempted to back out of the hole and fill it back in.
So now you know where I’ve been.