Tall, dark, and handsome with a laid-back personality and a slight southern drawl, my step dad was liked by pretty much everyone. I didn’t think of him as a step dad back then – he was just dad. So as step dads go, he was pretty easy to get along with. But looking back, I have two insights into our relationship: (1) he respected my boldness and talent (2) he resented my existence. And knowing what I know now, I resented his.

One thing he said to me that I never forgot was “You’re dreaming your life away.” Wondering why he said that, I remembered how I would take solo walks to think about life. I found it quite inspiring and was the way I sorted through things. How I processed the past and dreamed, yes, dreamed of the future. Was this a bad thing? Was I missing out on life because of it? Those words haunted me.

Continuing to read Julia Cameron’s latest book called Write for Life, I noted this:

Inspiration comes to us as we walk. Novelist John Nichols walks daily. So do I (Julia Cameron), and so does Natalie Goldberg who said, “I will tell you what I have learned myself: for me, a long five- or six-mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day.”

Emma Lively, writer and composer, walks daily. As she walks, she daydreams. She experiences hunches, inklings, and inspiration. coming home, she sets her hand to the page, writing out melodies and scenes for her musicals. Lively believes what Ueland wrote: “Imagination needs noodling: long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering…”

Aha! I wasn’t “dreaming” my life away, I was getting inspiration for a life as an artist, a writer, a musician, a songwriter. What that also tells me is that no, I don’t have to make a choice between writing and music. There is much writing in music, musical theater, lyrics, story. Who knows where my writing will take me, what shape it will take. It could only be in song or it could be in novel or short story or playbook form.

And walking and dreaming and thinking is vitally important.

I’ve really been expanding my walks in the neighborhood, either staying within walking distance from my home or getting in the car to drive a couple of miles to another part of our “neighborhood,” with lakes and woods and trails, all so beautiful and amazing and inspiring. I’m looking forward to returning and taking photos.

Yesterday, I walked the neighborhood and discovered a path to a golf course. Walking, exploring, daydreaming… and when I returned home, I finished a song that I’d been stuck on. Walking, so inspiring!

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