Not too long ago I sent away for some free samples. They were a new brand of energy bar, Quest bars to be specific. The flavors sounded interesting, so I thought, “What the heck?” What I got in the mail was an overheated black box containing my (now withered) samples. Yeah, Arizona summers are not conducive to heat sensitive mail. On the outside printed in red and white, in all caps, it read,
“You say yes when others say no. You rise while others sleep. You are better today than you were yesterday. You do what others will not. You control your destiny. You are intense. You are obsessed. You are not normal. You are on a quest. Never stop.”
I love this box. I have no recollection of the samples from within, my children made short work of them despite their sun stroked condition, but the box is now a permanent fixture of my writing space.
I am not sure what enamored me to it so quickly, but it is a prized possession. Maybe the, “you are,” statements function as mini affirmations for me each day. It reminds me that even when all I feel like doing is sipping my unseasonable hot chocolate in front of a film adaptation of an Austen novel, I have stories of my own demanding attention, plot holes to be filled and paved, characters that just want someone to talk to. Whatever it is, the fact that there was a company willing me to greatness regardless of what I thought (or didn’t even get a chance to think) about their product endeared me to the packaging.
Perhaps its greatest assertion, “You are on a quest,” is what really piqued my interest. It prods me to ask, “yes, but what kind of quest?”
Am I on a quest to be published? I don’t think so. Having had my first tiny taste of publication and the immense workload it brings, I’m pretty sure that’s not what I’m after. I’m not really comfortable talking about my writing in public forums, it’s such a personal thing. I really try to right for myself, to write the things that interest me. I certainly don’t expect fame or fortune, and I hope to avoid any form of infamy.
I think I might just be on the quest to find the most interesting story, maybe even the one tale that’s missing from my life. My day is so full, so complete in many ways that chasing stories and characters and themes is one of the few avenues of self-discovery still open to me. When the mortgage must be paid, the children fed/dressed/cleaned/taught, the yard weeded, and the billion other things that make up living in America in the 21st century, the mind can become one of the last places for real conquest, challenge, triumph.
Perhaps it is silly, and really just evidence of being a packrat at heart, but I’m not parting with this little box of cardboard. Like another rather infamous article it contains my hope for what writing will be for me: a source of joy, a source of wonder, a refuge from life’s hurts and struggles. Yes, I am on a quest, to never stop.
How about you? What are you questing for?