Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Logical Song (or the Art of Divine Timing)

I attempted to go to a yoga class a few days ago. I had been here in Amed for almost a week--it was time. I arrived at the studio to find the class had been cancelled because a group on retreat was using the space, and since I was already there, I was invited to join the group for their class. Great!

Turns out this retreat group was from Spain and very few of them spoke English. And it was a Vipassana inspired meditation class that particular night. I stayed because why not. During the introduction, which was entirely in Spanish, the group leader whipped out a selfie-stick and began to wave it about wildly as he spoke. I have no idea what he was saying, but the group looked a little terrified. He then briefed me in English that the meditation would be approximately 45 minutes, and he would clap 3 times to indicate the end. He did not wave the selfie-stick at me.

About 10 minutes into the meditation, I felt a solid bop on the head and my eyes flew open. The leader was walking around bopping folks on the head with his selfie-stick. He made his rounds every 10 minutes or so--in order to bring us back to the present moment, he later told us.

Later that evening something happened. I opened my manuscript file and a few aspects of the story I had been struggling with miraculously began to fall into place. Most surprising was a fifth character--someone who simply did not exist until now mysteriously appeared tying a big sloppy bow on my story. This was not the first time this has happened. Let me rewind.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I was driving home from somewhere when a CD fell out of my car sun visor and hit me in the head. It was a Supertramp CD. I have no idea where it came from. It wasn't my CD. I'd never seen it before. I popped it into my CD player and proceeded to drive around my block 10 times listening to the first song on repeat: The Logical Song. Something was happening.

As soon as I parked, I flew into my house and began writing. Four characters introduced themselves to me and begged me to tell their story. Well, what is your story? I asked. They took their time telling me in bits and pieces over the next few years. Then one day I stopped writing. For about 2 years or so, I would open this manuscript and cry. It was a mess. It made no sense to me at all. In retrospect, a complete reflection of what had become of my life.

About a month after I left California, I was able to start wrapping my mind around the story in a new way, but it wasn't until I was in Cambodia that I really began to focus on it and write. But there were problems. Yes, life is messy and sometimes does not make sense, but I am not Murakami--I cannot get away with leading you down surreal paths of strange and leave you dangling there.

And then the selfie-stick bop on the head. And then the fifth character. And the realization that my four original characters never left me. More often times than not I hear stories of people who put a manuscript to the side for various reasons, and when they go back to revisit it, the inspiration is no longer there.

This did not happen to me. My characters stuck with me through it all. They chose me to tell their story and didn't abandon me to find someone else! I am incredibly grateful and honored. I have no idea if anyone else will even like this story or if it will even make sense to anyone else. But I love this story. I love these characters. They are not always the most likable bunch, but they are mine.

Divine timing has always played a huge part of my life. For reasons I can only speculate, I don't think this story was meant to be told until now. I don't think I was mentally ready to tell this story until now.

We wake up each day and can see the world as logical or illogical as we please. We have the power to change our perception. We have the power to invent our universe. We are made of star stuff! It doesn't get much more miraculous or magical or beautiful than that. Why in the world would we let anyone convince us otherwise?

The Logical Song still fits (and in my mind, will always be entwined with this story and these characters). The Vipassana class congealed it. Here in this small stretch of Balinese fishing villages called Amed, I found a stillness that allowed this story to finish unfolding.

Do you feel divine timing has played a role in how your life has unfolded? Have you ever felt like life was withholding something from you until the perfect moment? I want to hear your stories!

This is the second book I've written, but it was the most challenging. I typically tend to write short stories or essays from personal experience and about people I've met. This story is completely fictional. And it's a novel. I'm still filling in gaps and editing, but I feel ridiculously good about it!

What creative projects are you currently working on (if any)? Do you feel divine timing has played a part in it?


Alison George said...

I waited until the perfect time to read your blog, and oh how I look forward to it like a cherished dessert. So here I am, in my nearly empty new apartment, alone, on my new colorful rug (I have that), thinking of you and your adventures a million miles away. And your words couldn't have been louder. Yes I believe in being somewhat persecuted to be shown more enlightening opportunities. And frustrated only to be shown great clarity.
I love you and miss you dearest!!
Add my friend to your blog.

Sarah Seymour said...

Awwww, thank you! Looking forward to the day I can visit you in your new place :D

And oh man, yes, do I know something about living through hell to be shown more clarity and a better way!

I'll add your friend for sure! What is his/her name?

Alison George said...

Aaron Wandersee

Jennifer Walters said...

I love this! Big hugs! Can't wait to be introduced to your characters!

Also, yes, timing - the one thing we really can't seem to control. Otherwise known as the one thing that really insists that we learn to trust. Such a continuous lesson!

Sarah Seymour said...

Added! Thank you :D

Sarah Seymour said...

I know! I feel like I'm always being constantly reminded of this. Definitely a continuous lesson!

I'm about at a point where I'm ready for some fresh eyes to read what I have! Do you want to be an early rough draft reader?!

Big hugs to you too! :)

Jennifer Walters said...

Um, ya! Of course I would! :)

rangster said...

The Logical Song has had that effect on me: mad energy, high on life emotional pressure, anxiety and elation. The collection "Breakfast In America" spawned a batch of amazing tunes. But Logical has an energy, a drive that is in the realm of The Wall tune "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt.2" with it's subject matter. The Supertramp predecessor album Crime Of The Century is in some ways a preamble to some of the ideas brought out in Breakfast.

But I ramble. Great blog, I've revisited a number of times this year. Sofia K. just visited last week, Santa Cruz yoga mistress divine, paying a visit to our islands of Pele.

Hope your teaching leaves you time to write, as you enjoy the relative stability of one place these next few months.

Sarah Seymour said...

Wow, thank you! :D And thank you for sharing your thoughts on Supertramp--they were a great band. I do love many of their songs, but the Logical Song has always been my favorite.

Sofia K is one of my favorite humans! I love that lady :D I'm hoping to catch up with her when I travel through Santa Cruz in April :)

My schedule is much busier these days, but I do still find time to focus on writing :)

And thank you again for reading :D