Seeing the words joy, adventure, “shaking the world” the other day on a fortune cookie fortune made me feel a rush of excitement. The fortune said, “Joy comes from adventure today. Time to shake the world.” I wanted to find the adventure. Maybe I’d find it if I go home, write and rediscover it. But then I realized I didn’t know how. At first I was going to map out all my dreams and goals I’ve had for the last couple years to remind myself of them and see if they still inspire me. Thinking about my drawing and writing ones still seemed to have that spark until something happened. I suddenly felt tired and apathetic. I didn’t believe in my dreams because they seemed unrealistic, far fetched, and requiring me to not lose track of them by getting distracted with other things that keep me busy. I didn’t know why I wanted to draw or write or why I wanted any of my dreams. Did I want a career, recognition, mastery, confidence? I know that I try to deny that I want those things and maybe when I looked at my dreams I felt I saw straight through them, seeing them as superficial, fickle and transitory.
Though I’ve felt the thrill of adventure when I had a dream. The chase and anticipation of a dream gives me so much energy and a sense of accomplishment when moving through the evolving goals leading up to it. It feels as if I’m shaking the world with my pursuits.
But there’s also another type of adventure that maybe I sensed I was missing. A kind that most artists need before they get to that kind of goal oriented adventure.
It’s the adventure of an observed life.
I realized I was feeling a full, rich and subtle sensation that my life is an adventure when I had the intention to illustrate something that I saw or experienced each day. It sanctified the small things and made them extra colorful and special, whether it was because they were beautiful, funny, disgusting, sad or honest. The emotions of these little experiences would animate the drawings and make the memories of my life more crisply meaningful and rememberable. Without these drawings, I might not remember the two teenagers talking about their driving test at the bus stop or how I saw an audience of pigeons listening to the street performers. Even if I did remember, the memories may be more muted or dull in my mind because the drawings forced me to recall and save more sensory and emotional information for the long term. This is where stories come from and that is where the expressive and artistic adventure can begin. It is also where life can be appreciated and shared by others who will find a familiar and relatable sweetness about what has been captured in the story.
So now when I feel that rush of excitement and am eager to find the adventure all I need to do is to notice something and let myself feel its worth and significance in my days story. Appreciating these little vignettes and reflecting on them all as a whole could be the start to a very rich, real and beautiful adventure as well as a meaningful journey as an artist.