Delightful, exhausting, insanely productive weekend at the page. Four and a half minutes of notes to transcribe (try talking nonstop for four and a half minutes—in individual ideas—and you’ll know how much material those sessions yielded!) Days followed by a couple of middle-of-the-night “of course” ideas that seemed to have been dropping crumbs for me to follow all along.

But this isn’t about that.

This meditation begins with a Facebook message from a dear friend from high school, Marcey.

“You always did,” she said, “march to your own drummer.”

As much as that observation pleased me, it also made me wonder what it meant.

I have always had a disconnect between the inner and the outer—a useful thing for a writer, sometimes; an awkward thing when it comes to social interactions.

I always did feel an affinity for those who were different, as I was; a protective fondness for those who were not traditionally popular; for the reviled, the weaker, the misunderstood. These were the folks with whom I shared a lifeboat. My peeps. The folks to whom I opened my heart.

I was, as a youngster, terminally shy, as I’ve mentioned here before. Getting on a bus was an agonizing experience—all those eyes. It is easier, now that I’m older; it doesn’t present in the same way.

And then, as now, the Arts were my ticket past it.

This was the discovery of self. The realization that I was a person who could do things that others could not…from a place where being different made a difference. I remember being asked to read in a high school writing class…the non-sound of a rapt audience. I remember reading Thurber’s “The Last Flower” during a high school show…the mocking laughter as I walked onstage in an eccentric dress—deliberately chosen for its unusualness…the gathering silence as I read on…the spotlight like a warming sun…the utter stillness at the close…the thunderous, surprised applause that filled the empty space. Vindication. For who I was.

We live the absolute truths of our own existences. We seek to understand how we affect, interact with, the world around us. We describe the elephants of ourselves by the feeling of their trunks, the only part our self-blinded eyes can perceive.

We know only what we look like from the inside. We cannot understand what we look like from the outside. We beat our different drums because they are the only ones we have. And if we wind up able to bring a deeper understanding, a greater humanity, to the characters who are so utterly real to us…maybe all those years of ache were worth it, after all.

AND SINCE YOU’RE HERE…I invite you to come on over to The Spiritkeeper site and poke around for a bit. You’ll find the first 12 chapters of the book, a place to send me a note–and a pretty nifty video, if I do say so myself! See you there….