I felt like a thief in the night. Maybe it was guilt, a sense that I was betraying someone, or something. I remember a sign, standing tall on the side of the highway while I was driving through the desert. “Blessed are they,” it said, “Who trust in Him.’
Four years ago, I moved to LA with big plans. Now it was July 2015, and needless to say, most of them didn’t happen. Now I was driving back east, only a little wiser than before.
Yet while it might have struck others as a move backwards, and despite my small, dwindling feelings of self-doubt and constant feelings of uncertainty; to me, it still felt like a move forward.
I didn’t quite know where I was going, and I was still every bit as unknown and penniless and uncertain as I’d been four years ago. But in that time, I’d learned that I had other interests; that a vast world existed outside my walls far greater than anything I’d ever imagined.
I’d become a musician, more or less by accident, and I’d developed an impressive and growing catalogue of original work. I wasn’t too bad a singer either. I also learned that I had a growing interest in writing. Anything from short stories and scripts to essays and novels.
The same eagerness was still there. The ambition to learn, to inspire and above all, to experience and create was still there. And instead of withering away in the face of competition and discouragement, it had survived and matured.
Experience in particular had become key for me, and I’d only just begun to understand why it was something that I’d always be chasing. It was true, I hadn’t done the thing I’d originally set out to do, but that didn’t mean I’d failed.
It also didn’t mean that I succeeded. Success was something I knew I’d have to define for myself in the days to come. But maybe the realization alone was a small victory. At least that’s what I told myself on the road that morning.
I rolled down the windows and breathed in the air, driving toward the desert and mountains of California. I was on the road; the same road many had travelled before me and that I hoped many more would travel in the years to come. If my story was any different, it was my job to figure out why. It was the job of any artist, I figured. The job of any actor or musician, poet or painter, writer or songwriter. I thought of Bob Dylan, as I had many times over the years.
“An artist,” he said “must be careful to never think he has arrived somewhere, he must always be in a constant state of becoming.”
I was armed only with my instincts. For an artist, I’d come to believe, it was the most valuable tool in approaching the work and navigating this life. I didn’t know what lie ahead, I only knew that I had to keep moving.
I didn’t know where home was, but I had a feeling, at the very least, that I knew what direction it was in. When and if I ever reached it were a mystery. It didn’t seem like much to go on at the time, but it was a start.
Once I called myself a rolling stone; and though I was still a wanderer and the road ahead was long, I had a feeling now that I was maybe a little closer to finding my way home.