Sunday, June 17, 2012

Structure

I grew up on a small town in southwest Texas, the heart of ranch and farm land. Structure wasn't simply engrained within me, it was woven into my marrow from an early age. By the time I was four I knew that Monday through Friday I would leave the ranch at 6:00 a.m. and ride standing in the center of the truck between my grandpa and my uncle. Yes, I know. I'm showing my age because things like that get CPS called on you now. But it was life as I knew it.

I knew I spent half the day with strangers supposedly learning important stuff for later on. Naps, opening the milk carton, folding my blanket. God how I wish those were truly the only things I ever had to know.

The real education began when I was back with my grandpa, who would spend hours crouched on the floor of the shop with a piece of broken chalk. There I learned the power of words and what they could do when strung together.

Before I hit kindergarten I could read and knew most of my multiplication tables. Now before you go and think I was smart, I really, really wasn't.

It was structure and I thrived on it.

I'd memorized everything about each day. The patterns were my marrow, the tendons holding my existence together. It shouldn't surprise you that I became a financial analyst. Patterns, structure became my existence.

But it left me longing for the simpler times when I'd play with doodle bugs in the backyard or listen to wild tales about bears in trees and pixie dust.

Now that I've been writing while attempting to maintain my dreaded day job, those tendons are giving way to a brave new world where futures are uncertain and structure isn't really possible.

The creative side of my brain loves the fact that the world has become dynamic, breathing and flowing with unknown and untapped potential. As the world of digital publishing evolves and the throngs of authors press forward into new arenas, the little girl who crouched beside her grandpa and proudly quoted times tabled that she had no freaking understanding of can't help but cower in the corner.

Structure is what I've fought my entire life to sever. Determined to strike out and be the creative individual that I want, I can't help but realize now that it has become my crutch.

My goal for the next year is to press harder to move toward the creative grounds and slowly let the structure go, strand by strand.

May we all find that sliver of structure we wish to sever and let it ride the wind.