I’ve done a bit of reading these couple of days – two books in two days to be precise.
I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy reading for leisure. The way I devoured those two books, or rather the way those two books drew me in.
But today was that one book – Little Mountain by Blake Mundell (find it here free from Noisetrade Books) that captivated me.
There’s a summary on the Noisetrade Books page but what caught me from the beginning was how Blake introduced the book in the preface. He writes fiction and is a singer-songwriter who likes coffee and recreational sports. Generic. But then…
Blake wrote a lot starting from fourth grade and eventually resorted to carrying notebooks around everywhere to scribble down ideas – lyrics, narratives, poems etc. In early 2012, a life crisis left him unable to write anymore. He tried all sorts of methods – writing in different forms, even “real therapy”.
Eventually Blake started a blog. Trying to “pen the whole truth, as honestly as [he was] able…”. To dig up things that he hid from others, things he hid from himself. Things he hid for years. Things he didn’t have the courage to share with anyone. But somehow, with each post, he found it easier to open up.
This blog quietly but steadily grew in terms of followers. Eventually Blake got to the end of this chapter and realized he had material for a book – Little Mountain.
You can’t blame me for seeing the parallels.
Especially the thoughts and struggles Blake had, as he covered in the book. However, retrospectively those same struggles? You’d probably have similar ones as well.
Allow me to go on my usual hop-skip-jump thought process.
There was a moment when Blake’s dad caught him in a deep thought and without knowing what it was, just told him to live in the moment, to take it a day at a time.
I couldn’t let that thought go.
Sometimes it is true – sometimes we do have to learn to live in the moment, to embrace this specific point in time. Never again will it occur. To take it a day at a time. Matthew 6:34 says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Hold that thought against what we know to be true as well. The need to look ahead. To fix our eyes upon the future, upon the eternity that lies ahead.
There’s always a time for each school of thought. Where is the balance?
What defines the point when we live too carelessly, with blatant disregard for the future? What determines the point when we live too much on edge, too anxious about what might lie ahead?
How do we live free, with our eyes lit with hope? Like how it’s meant to be.
This book eerily echoes my own journey, my innermost thoughts. (Although they’re probably common to many. I wouldn’t be surprised.)
The natural tendency to set up walls. The deep need for approval. To live up to expectations. To be a good man in the storm; stoic, strong, not needy. To repress. Thankfully, I’ve progressed from that. I believe so.
How honest and raw his accounts are after having been so closed in before. The similarities never seem to end.
That’s how you figure out how to really ride and see how far you can push it. You have to fall off before you really learn how to stay on.
Too true. Think he was on about wakeboarding/skateboarding but I believe you see the point here.
The failures are merely learning experiences.
Blake was recounting his stubborn refusal to fail. Refusing to even get on the board on the first place to try it out. Insisting that he’ll fall, that he’d fail for sure. Even before giving it a go.
And another occasion (I think it was his best friend’s funeral) when he held back any form of emotion. How he prided himself upon his ability to exert such “self-control” over his emotions. Even how his dad enthused about how brave Blake is. You see what I’m getting at? I feel like it’s hitting too close to home. I see myself.
It all boiled down to “insulation”. Safety. That by clamming up he avoided letting people in, avoided the possibility of abandonment, avoided the possibility of hurt. The journey is too familiar.
And how he learnt to lay bare his thoughts and emotions via his blog. I don’t even.
I can’t emphasize it enough anymore.
Paraphrasing his words: Falling and the pain associated with it are inescapable parts of a well-lived life.
That right there I am definitely 100% in agreement with.
And more importantly… how to re-position, how it influences how I’ll write, how it influences how I’ll live.
To expose the cracks, fissures and broken bits to people for the first time.
To trust enough.
To unveil and entrust that knowledge to the people around you.
To begin to move the mountain.