In this weeks confessions series Lee Davy talks about his recent journey to America and how it feels to finally understand the power of community.
I got divorced. It hurt. It felt like a drive by shooting with every bullet hitting my heart. Time passed. Melancholy turned to anger. I felt like my life had been adjourned. I wasn't sure when I would be able to press the play button. I was lost in a labyrinth of despair.
One day, my mum intervened as I head butted the living room wall. She pulled me into her bosom as she had done many times when I was a child. I sobbed. Her white shirt looked like the Shroud of Turin.
Confessions of a Poker Writer: CommunityShe knew how to fix me. A cup of tea, and a chat, was the way to disrupt the conjugated collage of past and present wounds. Then she said it, in her own blasé way. Her words sent my soul scurrying into the back of the room looking like a cornered wolf.
"Let's face it Lee, you will always be a man with baggage."
By baggage she meant an ex wife and 10-year old son.
I was a pariah.
Did Tinder have a swipe option for a 'man with baggage?'
So I wandered the earth in my own private submarine. The walls were so thick nobody could get near me. Then one day I was looking through my periscope when I saw her. I woman so beautiful I immediately scrawled my number on a piece of paper. I tried to hand it to her many times. The gelatinous quiver of my love sick legs stopping me in my tracks.
Fortunately, after hanging around the woman's toilet like a sexual deviant, she agreed to talk to me. She liked baggage. Press fast forward on the Betamax of life and we fell in love. The LA girl, who would become my wife, left her family to travel 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean so we could be together.
My wife found it difficult to settle in to her new life in South Wales. The same problem reared its head time and time again. One word. One very powerful word. Community. She missed it. She longed for it. I was clueless. She had friends. She therefore had a community.
Last week I wrote about the need to find other like-minded dreamers. I ended my piece with the words:
Dreamers need to stick together. Let's go find some.
The universe delivered.
It always does.
I landed in Salt Lake City to attend a USANA conference. USANA manufacture some of the highest rated nutritional supplements and health care products in the world. My wife and I are ambassadors for the company.
We spent three days attending workshops, and listening to some of the most inspirational and intelligent keynote speakers in the world. We also fell in love with the people. We felt wanted and needed. We felt loved.
From Salt Lake City we traveled to Los Angeles where my wife took me to the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City. Unfortunately, the founder, Michael Bernard Beckwith, was in Ghana, but the sermons delivered in his stead were of raw power and inspiration.
I'm not a religious man, but this place was special. There was a power within those walls that I didn't understand; and the music, the beautiful music. The singers were world class. They made my whole body shiver.
Both USANA and Agape made me understand the term community. It was a bond of love, a unity; a meeting of like minded people. I had asked the universe to find me some dreamers and here they were: palms outstretched, smiles curving, energy bounding.
What does this have to do with writing?
As a writer without community I find it difficult to find my muse. Each day becomes a struggle. Solitude creates a sinkhole in my day. I lack presence. I worry and stress about things that have been, or have never been. I am forced to search for inspiration through books, TV scripts, and lyrics from the greatest songsmiths in the world.
But it's dull.
It's all so very dull.
The communities at USANA and Agape have illuminated my soul. I have leapt out of my valley boy petri dish and into a goldfish bowl teaming with life. The transaction between two human beings can contain spine tingling goose bumps that ooze creative energy. I have felt it. I have loved it. And my muse absolutely revels in it.
I have found them.
I have found the dreamers.
It's all starting to come together.
You have to leave the house to become a better writer. You need to find community. The inspiration pulled from a double amputee describing the pain of wearing tree trunks for legs, the woman who lost two children because she was too drugged up to care, and the woman who was on the verge of dying until the correct supplementation and nutrition gave her another chance at life; when you look into the eyes of those people, when you feel the power that exudes from their stories, your muse starts singing, and it's a different tune to the one that draws energy from the wood of my kitchen table.
If you are willing to be naked, people will share stories that will make bathing a cat feel like a stroll. I used to think that pain and angst, created by my solitude, produced the best works of art; but now I can see the need for an injection of love. It's time to get real. It's time to get plugged into the right community.
I sound like a hippie.
And I haven't even got to Burning Man yet.
This is a reprint from calvinayre.com. to view the original, click here.