In the secrecy of my heart, I’d like to be a lone wolf, complete in myself, free of the desire to please others. I am proud of my eccentricities but also ashamed of them. I have a hard time finding my place in crowded parties, and I enjoy being alone, but not for too long. I want to be an individualist, but I’m also aware of where my character differs, those corners that make me unsuited to becoming a Howard Roark or John Wayne, the perfect lone wolf.
As a writer, I sit by my desk and whatever happens — tears, laughter, frustrations — stays between me and my computer, at least for now. I needn’t cooperate with man or woman, except perhaps the characters in my book. Striking out on my own is not just tolerated but expected and preferred. At the same time, I am not writing in a vacuum. I’d like my books to be read and appreciated by an audience. I love the instant gratification of posting a blog and getting a response. I write to find a common ground with others, to discover that I am not so weird after all.
Like a good mama — I’ve established my Jewish-Motherness on this blog yesterday — I’d like my children to be more than I am. I’d like them to be individualistic, to differentiate between what they want and what society wants for them, to know when to say yes and when to say no. But I’d also like them to be team players, cooperative, reliable, and committed, to have that team spirit which I try so hard to have and have yet to succeed. And what better way to find a team spirit, to learn the qualities of working within a group, than through a team sport like lacrosse.
My children, however, appear to have inherited my wolfish traits. They resist any sort of team activity, refuse group after-school activities, and change direction at any sign of competition. I try to explain to them why joining a team is so good, encourage them that they’re talented at playing lacrosse, but nothing. They appreciate the skill that they have, they enjoy lacrosse, but they have no desire to test their skill against others or to use it to support a team.
|The path least traveled
I wonder if we’re missing the gene that allows people to work together for a common goal. Reason tells me that an individualist does not have to be the opposite of team player. My emotional, impressionable self, however, the one who read The Fountainhead at far too young an age, does not believe this is true. That part of me resists any tying down. All it knows are the open skies and fields, the path least traveled. And it occurs to me as I am writing this, that if I want my book to be published, I’ll need to guide a group through those open skies, fields and that little-known trail. I’ll have to decide whether to be part of the group — the leader, it’s true — but also a member, open to criticisms, opinions, and good or bad reviews. And scariest of all: open myself to the ultimate risk: that I’ll lead but none might follow.