2023: One Moment

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.

In 2022, it was the moment on Cathedral Rock where I passed other cowardly people, thinking that it wasn’t that bad! In 2021, it was all moments after I finished creating something like after the initial Weddin video. In 2020, it was the moment(s) when I was creating. In 2019, it was the moment that I realized that he was actually…alive and whole. In 2018, it was the moment that we realized that the car would start. In 2017, it was the moment (or moments) that I deeply connected with a group I had just met at a conference where I thought I would have been antisocial (or just horribly socially anxious). In 2016, it was the moment that I felt in the flow in telling the story of Ice Cream Travel Guide. In 2015, it was the moments after my hat was “stolen” in Rio. In 2014, it was a moment in a writing workshop that I had achieved greatness. In 2013, it was talking to Yasar Usta in Istanbul. In 2012, it was using the ocean as a “big toilet” while floating outside Palawan. In 2011, it was my birthday moment. In 2010, it was the success in Journey to the End to the Night.

Would it be recency bias if I mentioned the hikes that I did in Utah? Particularly like the moment in Angels Landing when I actually reached the peak? But that was only last week and because it hadn’t snowed/frozen over, I was less afraid. And also because I had already done Cathedral Rock in Sedona, there was a bit less fear. It was all about just trying and knowing that I’ll be slow at it. And the big difference was that I didn’t see anyone who was too cowardly to go on—or at least if they turned back, they did so quietly rather than an outward display like that woman who suddenly wouldn’t go any further on the slight incline.

No, I would say that the moment that made a difference for me was when I read my piece at The Racket when Lauren was hosting. I had never been invited to read until she did. It made me feel like my place in the writing mattered! I felt so pleased and awed by her invitation to read a piece where the theme was Birds. Initially, I fretted about it—I am not an animal person, so what animal could I choose? And animals don’t naturally show up in my writing. But then it came to me, it had to obviously be Pokemon.

I had written pieces already about how sometimes I falter into a child state. But more recently for me is the bigger topic of what it means to be a parent—did I want it?

Anyway, that one moment was when I read it. I was nervous about it, because I had only written the piece weeks earlier as I had attempted multiple treatments of it. I revised and revised and practiced and practices.

Dress for the occasion, Lauren had suggested. So I did thinking that my wedding dress and my orangey scarf plus the pink gloves and a pokeball could offer everything that I needed. The whole time I fretted until it was my turn, squirming in my seat on the bench. Jessica was there too, intrigued by my offer to attend a reading. So when it was my turn, Lauren introduced me reading a short intro that I wrote only earlier that week that even included lines from the Pokemon theme song. It was embarassing, but it made a stir in the audience. Then it was my turn.

I had overanalyzed the situation already, thinking about how to position the mic and paper, especially since it had multiple sheets. Do I hold the paper over the mic? Do I speak loudly? How far is the mic from my face?

Then I read, trying all the effort to maintain gaze and read slowly but surely. And the audience aahed and laughed at what I think was the right times. And then I looked up, my voice quivered even though I didn’t mean to as I talked about my loss. What did it mean when I lost something? What did it mean when I felt so mixed? What did all of it all mean? I worried about being judged and feeling like people wouldn’t see me the same.

But afterwards, people did come up to me and said that they loved my piece. And maybe that’s all that mattered.

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