The writer as sponge. The writer as atmosphere. The writer as tree, as Other, as will o’ the wisp, as Haunt, as Eternal Visitor.

That’s the gift of being what and who we are. And the test. We are the Inside and Outside of ourselves as one. Creatures fed by everything.

We visit worlds. We live there. We visit reality—and we don’t always dwell there. Sometimes the influences cloak us. Sometimes they reveal us. Sometimes they are so powerful that we find it almost impossible to understand exactly who we are.

A fascinating exercise, to let the work be led not by intent but by happenstance; to entertain Circumstance as our next direction; to follow the path just to see where it might lead. The pain of a friend. The clap of thunder. The sleepless night. The moment of midnight fear. Throwing mental and emotional caution to the proverbial winds requires a willingness to detach from the core; to go zero-gravity in our heads in order to discover Possibility.

It’s a scary place to go…because you can’t see the destination in it. Like the whirlies after one too many glasses of wine, one must keep a foot on the ground to keep the self anchored to the known. And that ain’t always easy.

And there are downsides, bear traps, pockets of quicksand. That same quality that lets us open to the Inside/Outside also makes us see too many sides of the same issue. It makes us bulldog ideas that are better left alone. It blinds us to what’s really happening around us.

To be the Writer in the Rain, to follow every drop from sky to skin: Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes, there’s a rainbow in it. Sometimes, it’s just a long, long way down.

(And from the department of shameless plugs: Come see me at