I woke up this morning and somehow in the night I’d turned sixty! I guess if you escape dying on the barricades, car accidents and fatal diseases, it happens.
Sixty seems old. I remember when I asked my grandmother, a genuine old person, just how old she was—she said, “Sixty.” But they say sixty is the new forty, and I hope so because I don’t feel old. I know a lot of people my age are starting to retire but I feel like I’m just getting started. (And that’s probably a good thing, not having saved any money to retire on anyway.)
But mostly I woke up feeling happy. In sixty years, I have actually learned a thing or two and one of them has to do with happiness—that it’s a process, not a destination. I’ve achieved a fair number of things in life, and received a lot of wonderful things, but what makes me happy is being in the middle of something exciting where I get to work for what I believe in. I love the second and third drafts. The first draft is painful and exhausting—building the architecture of a story, molding the characters and the world out of your own etheric energy. But by the second draft, the story is set, the world has an existence and a reality of its own, and you can just enter into it and enjoy making the improvements.
So now I’m in the second or third draft of life. When you’re in your twenties or thirties, you’re always agonizing over who you are and what you’re going to be. By sixty, life has a pattern. There’s some things I’m just not going to be in this lifetime, and I have to let them go. It’s too late to have a child, or even to adopt one. That’s a big one. I’m not going to learn to do aerial dance, or ski.
But I do have wonderful friends, a loving partner, amazing and talented stepdaughters and Goddess-kids, and I get to do marvelous, exciting things. Write books. Teach permaculture woven together with magic and organizing in Earth Activist Trainings—one starting next week in Quebec! Work with youth and elders in the inner city to grow food in community gardens. And the newest, most exciting project at the moment, the long-time dream that at last is coming day by day more into reality, is making the movie of The Fifth Sacred Thing.
Ever since I posted here and on Facebook that the movie was underway, I feel like I’ve been getting love-bombed with messages from so many people about how much the book has meant to them. I’ve had to keep myself grounded by remembering that there are significant crews of people out there that think I’m Scum of the Earth. (The Pope, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, not a few editors and critics, lots of people who think The Fifth Sacred Thing is hippie drivel, just to name some). It all balances out – but at the moment I’m basking in the sunlight of praise from so many people who tell me that something I’ve done in those first sixty years has made a significant difference to their lives. Thanks to you all for your posts and comments and good wishes! They mean a lot!
And this week, some wonderful things have happened. So many people have ‘liked’ our Facebook page—a thrill to see the numbers climb! I’ve seen the design for the website, which is beautiful, and will be up next week! Kickstarter approved our campaign to raise funds through their website, and we’ve decided for symbolic and magical reasons to launch it on the Solstice, June 21. Watch for it!
Earlier, I wrote about my long struggles with the screenplay. This week, I got some feedback from a friend who is currently a hot action screenwriter in Hollywood. I quote: “It’s frickin’ great!” Yes! I’ve been working a long time for that!
I don’t believe that making the movie will make me happy. I’m happy making the movie. Ever since Philip Wood got involved as producer two years ago, I’ve been happy working on it, knowing there was someone else who shared the vision and who was confident in taking on all the producing pieces I didn’t want to do. When Paradox Pollack joined us last fall, he brought a supernova of positive energy into the mix. Between the two of them, they seem to know every creative artist and musician in the known universe, and so many of them have said, “Yes, we want to be involved with this!” Now we also have two amazing women on the team—Alli Gallixsee, who shot our Kickstarter video and is coordinating the social media. One thing I love about Alli is that every time I write something, she tells me it gives her chills or makes her cry. Praise is good! And Jen Zariat, who seems wired into the electric energy of the internet and who knows all kinds of mysterious things, like which fonts make a movie poster look like a big, blockbuster movie!
Photographers wait to shoot in the ‘golden hour’, just before sunset, when colors are more intense and faces glow with warm light. Sometimes in writing, it’s in the later drafts that little things snap together, small inspirations happen, just the right image surfaces that brings the whole project into focus. Writing The Fifth Sacred Thing, I didn’t have the title until someone at Bantam suggested it. When they did, on the last revision, I found the imagery all came together in a whole new way.
I’m looking forward to lots of those moments in these later drafts of life. I know that terrible things are happening all around us, the world is still going to hell in spite of my best efforts, that there will be more protests to go to and more losses to face. But there’s a certain class of people that are happy as long as they see some good piece of work in front of them that they can do, and I’m one of them. I hope it will be a long time yet before I type “Fade out.” And in the meantime, I’m going to go ice skating—just to prove I still can, and meet friends, look at art, eat cake and enjoy the golden light of these lingering days.