As some of you may know, I took some time off from writing my novel to do some research on shamanism and curanderismo. But, as you also probably know, “doing research” can be code for “freaking out about what the hell I’m trying to say to the world and balking at the fact that I’m even attempting to write a novel that encompasses these – let’s call them eclectic – belief systems.” The fifty pages I’d written for Francesca Lia Block’s novel writing class – and that’s not including several previous drafts of my own – seemed to taunt and mock me.
So I took a deep breath and started over. I asked myself one question: What is the theme/subject that I think is the most important in this book? And the answer that I came up with after writing several lengthy, personal essays about soul loss and retrieval, body image, physical vs emotional healing and, of course, love was (much to my surprise) only this: wildness.
We run ourselves ragged. In between work and school and attending social events, trying to build our homes and paychecks and keep the bonds of our relationships strong and secure, we grow tired. We forget that we are animals first. Our lives are dictated by hunger, seemingly base, physical needs and instinctual responses to our environment. No kidding, sometimes it takes all I have in me to not scream at a co-worker. Sometimes it takes everything in me to not walk out the front door and run through the forest, finally stretching my cramped, computer-hunched back and leaving this world far, far behind. Of course, reminding myself of certain creature comforts (in my case, hot chocolate and fuzzy slippers) usually stops me from performing such acts of lunacy. But a girl can fantasize.
So, are you wild? Where does the animal in you reside? Show me your inner savage, the garden in your heart overrun with weeds. Show me what it means to act on instinct, and instinct only – pay no attention to curious or baffled onlookers. Everyone has a beautiful beast pacing back and forth just beneath their ribcage. Show me yours.