Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why a Winged Horse?

Why do I call this blog the Pegasus journals? Well, the story goes so far back into my childhood that I, myself, do not even remember it.

When I was a child I had an imaginary friend. I don't remember him at all, but my mother says I called him "Mr. Pegasus." I wonder sometimes if my mother didn't just stretch her imagination to make my gibberish sound like such a name. It could have actually been Mr. Pegleg or Mr. Pogo, or some name I had heard but couldn't pronounce. But since Pegasus is such a wonderfully relevant name to someone like me, I think I'll go along with what my mother says.

Sometime during my adolescence I found out what (or who) Pegasus was. I had already found out that I love to write and wanted to become a writer. Imagine my elation when I read that in mythology, Pegasus, a winged horse who, with the slash of his hoof, created Hippocreene, an eternal spring of the muses, was a source of inspiration for poets! It was my validation, my guarantee, my sign from God that I was to be a writer. Why else would a child call her imaginary friend "Pegasus"? I certainly couldn't have thought of it on my own as a preschooler. It was destiny.

I have often wondered how on earth I came across my imaginary friend. When I was going through my Edgar Cayce/Shirley McClain phase, I believed Mr. Pegasus must have been a guiding spirit. And, even though I am a person who believes in divine purpose for everything, my rational mind keeps trying to tell me it was just a coincidence. However, my left brain has never pulled much weight with me.

Though my life has taken many turns, and I have changed my mind several times about my career, and indeed have changed my career field more than once, something in the back of my mind still clings to the notion that I MUST WRITE. Many times, I have felt convinced that I would never become a writer, and should give up the silly idea, but Mr. Pegasus will not let me.

The main problem remains that while Pegasus may be an inspiration, he can't force me to get on and ride. He is not a magic formula, and I am certainly not William Butler Yeats, who had Spirit guides to do his writing for him. That's what I keep hoping for, I guess -- that someday I'll fall into a deep trance, wake up, and see pages filled with wonderful words.

I used to tell my writing students that learning to write is like learning to ride a bicycle. You have to get on and ride, and fall, scrape your elbows and knees, and even your chin, and eventually you will be a bike rider. "If you want to be a writer, write," said Epicetus. OK, OK. I get the idea. I can't expect the horse to do it all, even if he does have wings.