Our Narratives

I’m sure you’ve all heard that question asking what you would tell your younger self if you could go back in time. The assumption being that you are older and wiser and able to give that younger self advice.

The thing is, even if something like that was possible, that younger self probably wouldn’t believe you. Think about it. Whatever was going on in that younger life was real and true and certain at that point in time. I doubt your older self would have been able to convince the younger self that the narrative they held was false.

But for the sake of discussion, what if you did listen? What is the one thing that you have never been able to let go? The one thing that you have always been hard on yourself about, that, even now, you still listen to, and believe, those old refrains? And what is the one thing someone could have told you, that you would have made you listen? Is there anything that could have been said, or done, that would have allowed you to let go?

More importantly, if you can think of one thing that might have made a difference, that you might have listened to back then, why don’t you listen to it now? After all, you’re older and wiser, right?

If my older self went back in time and told my younger self that cruel and unkind words were simply someone else’s insecurities and not my truth, I certainly wouldn’t believe that. Those spoken words were my truth and in many ways still are.

Which makes me wonder why we hang on to false narratives, so strongly that they are true narratives. What do they give us that make us cling to them? What would we have to change or give up, if the narratives were proven false? Conversely, what would it change if we found out those narratives were actually true? Would we still be able to let go of them?

So many questions.

What would I tell my younger self, you ask?

That fear was the underlying cause of all those words, and my god, just go out and life your life in spite of them.

Would I have believed that advice, you ask?

Oh heck, of course not.

Ethics in Art

Some of you know I do bobbin lace. Recently, a member in a lace group I’m in posted this absolutely beautiful wall hanging. I realized it was the type of lace that I could do, and asked if the pattern was available. Matter of fact, lots of people asked about the pattern. We were all directed to the webpage of the woman who had created it.

Unfortunately, that page has been inactive for years. Direct messages and google searches got no responses. There doesn’t appear to be anyway to now get that pattern. Whether the person who created it has passed away or is simply no longer interested in lace, there’s no way to know.

That got me thinking about the ethics around things we create. In this particular case, it’s possible that some of the people who have made that pattern might be willing to pass a copy on. But would that be right?

I think about books. We spend so much time writing them and publishing them and they then exist out there in the world. Matter of fact, I can’t even get rid of old versions with awful covers. With the publishing world the way it is now, copies will never be exhausted and I presume my estate/heirs might continue making a few dollars a month without me.

Obviously it’s unethical to make copies of whatever a person creates, without the creator’s permission. Whether that’s books, music, paintings, or lace patterns. And equally obvious, at some point creativity passes to the public domain and then it’s okay to print, download, use, etc.

But what happens when it’s something like this lace pattern? When it’s not in public domain but the person who created it no longer is actively involved in allowing the pattern to be purchased or used? To my way of thinking the same ethics still hold. Until the creator releases their interest in whatever the item is, their wishes are still paramount. Thinking of books again, just because I quit writing doesn’t mean my books are then released for free out into the wild.

There are a lot of people who want that lace pattern. And there are a lot of people who have it. What would I say if someone offered me a copy? My overly-developed guilty conscious would have to turn it down because I know nothing about where the creator is now. If she’d passed away, even then I think I’d want to contact the family and see if they were okay with sharing her work.

Coming again from the background of writing, if someone offered to sell their copy of my book to another, it would bug me. If someone offered to give their copy to another, I would love the idea that my books were being shared and passed on. So maybe it’s money that makes such sharing unethical.

Honestly, if someone offered to give me a copy of that pattern, my guilt might be quiet. Maybe. I don’t know.

It was a beautiful work of art though.

Meandering To Work

The drive to work is along a twisty, dark highway with no streetlights. Trees on both sides, and a river you can glimpse through the trees when it’s light out. But at 5:00 in the morning it’s not light out. It’s been rainy and windy lately with lots of leaves coming down. This morning, I drove through a low-lying ribbon of creek mist where a stream rockets down to the river and goes under the road.

Immediately, I was off. Did I just drive through the ghost of a deer that had been hit there and was now traumatized all over again? That was too horrible to think about.

Was it the Shadow People (or Shadow Men) – those terrifying soul vampires of the ghost world that I discovered when researching monsters for a book? That was too scary to think about.

Was it the ghost of an old guy who doesn’t know he died and still goes fishing in the river in the fall, and was on his way with rod and reel?

Was it a forest spirit that hangs out on the highway on purpose in order to get hit by vehicles? In my imagination I could hear it dissipating into the wind after I drove through, yelling ‘wheeeeee!!!!!’ loudly as it rode the currents up into the trees, scattered among the branches, and then floated back down with the rain to wait for the next car and start the ride all over again.

And all of a sudden I was at work.

When you have a vivid imagination, you’re never alone. Or bored.