The fragrance of my shampoo is prickly pear. While I lather my head with this stuff, without even knowing what it really looks like (the cactus variety) I imagine prickly pear as the delicate Bartlett pear. (I think the Bartlett variety is the more easily bruised compared to the Bosc or Anjou.) Then I see the thorns sticking out of it protecting the juicy tasty flesh the inviting light green color and odor of the fruit. I sometimes feel like a prickly pear.
It’s easy to get use to the mode of being closed and protected when it ALL seems too much – too much betrayal of others and self. So, I wanted to change this mode of being. It simply would not do as I was aware that this mode will not sustain a healthy way of living. Get rid of the thorns and just be yourself; someone who many describe as sweet and sensitive.
A short diversion about Luther Burbank, a noted botanist, who was a good friend of Paramahansa Yogananda. He developed a spineless and thornless variety of cactus and he said:
While I was conducting experiments to make ”spineless” cactus, I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. ”You have nothing to fear.” I would tell them. ”You don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.” Gradually the useful plant of the desert emerged in a thornless variety. (Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, Jaico Publishing House, Bombay, Second Indian Edition, 1975, Twelfth Impression, p. 353.)
Rounding back to my original thought, I am reminded of an incident when I shared a scene with my class from my play. My mentor asked me, “couldn’t you have some compassion for …” (a particular character in the story.) He pointed out that I was lacking love and that I was writing with my thumb on the scale; and being the writer with the omniscient point of view I was writing with an agenda which the audience would easily be turned off about. No one wants to be dictated to. So I took a step back. I wasn’t aware of what was happening in the writing.
Explore the nature of what I’m trying to express. This is what is more interesting rather than tipping the scale to say in the story that my hero is right and everyone else constellating around him is wrong. It’s all of them constellating around the theme.
The imperfect hero, I decided, is what I want to write about. I think this is more interesting and real rather than the hero who is shown as perfectly right. I could show him as thinking he’s perfectly right, and then show his arc when he realizes it’s not the whole truth. There are other dimensions and not one is perfect.
Back to prickly pear me. When I’m aware of my modus operandi then I’ve observed my tendency to inject into my writing what I’m thinking and feeling at a personal level. The awareness often (hopefully) makes me stop, because it makes for a disastrous piece of writing. I could do all that in my morning pages. Use that for all the crap and then get on with the real business of writing.
As I close my blogging week, I wanted to share with you that today I initiated the dialogue with the studio I work with about LAFPI. I started it with an email to one of the teachers/directors of the studio. He’ll be back on the week of October 18th, and we’ve agreed to talk in person then.
It feels good to have opened the window. At least I know he’s open to the idea. I explained about LAFPI and its grassroots, and described the goals we list in our website. I also introduced the usage of our logo as “deemed appropriate” by the studio.
The worst of my fear has been slain dead. It was really the fear of the unknown, and my pre-conception that I would be rejected. Thinking about it makes me realize the immaturity of that mode.
The soft and red shade of the ripe prickly pear below is what the imperfect hero’s heart is like. It breathes and bleeds life.