A blank notebook with a black pen on a walnut wood

The Artist’s Way Chapter 5: Recovering a sense of possibility

I remember when I was in NYC a couple of years ago, we needed to exchange some greyhound tickets to ones with a more suitable time as our plans had changed. Not being familiar with how things work in the US we were worried we may be stuck with some tickets that didn’t suit our revised schedule.

We hoped that it would not be too difficult to have them exchanged and decided to try our luck at the ticket office. We approached the lady at the ticket booth, a middle-aged black woman who looked very youthful and content in what I thought an unusual setting for someone to look content. Her impressively polished nails caught my attention as my friend approached her and asked if it was possible to change the times on our tickets. The lady looked up with a look that conveyed a sense of contempt and compassion at the same time before she spoke. ‘Honey, nothing is impossible!’ she announced in an assertive but reassuring tone. I immediately felt a smile dawn on my previously concerned face, not sure if it was due to the fact we could change the time on our tickets or because of this lady’s contagious optimism.


Remembering Suzy talk about our big peace at an event a few weeks ago, I now think back and feel this woman must have had found her big peace, right there at the ticket booth of the greyhound coaches office in NYC.

The image of that woman’s gratified face has haunted me ever since. ‘Nothing is impossible…’ I kept repeating in my head. But how can this be, it surely is nothing more than a cheesy sportswear marketing campaign motto, less so a life affirming dictum.

Last week a dear old friend arrived from Greece. Our friendship has been one of the turbulent ones, like Mediterranean people know well, with long periods of us feeling we’re soul mates, followed by periods of falling out and feeling cross with each other to be followed by periods where we make up, forgive but not forget and that gets repeated, hopefully not ad infinitum. We’re obviously on our sunny patch of friendship at the moment. We were born on the same date; that surely is not just a coincidence.

If indeed we are soul mates, I wouldn’t expect our relationship to be a walk in the park. This time our argument lies in possibility. He loves mixing music and I ask him why doesn’t he become a DJ? ‘That’s not possible,’ he replies, ‘I don’t have the talent to be a DJ?’ ‘You are talented,’ I protest. He doesn’t reply and I feel my words have gone to waste. ‘Why don’t you come to live in London?’ I say in an attempt to continue the conversation. ‘That’s not possible,’ he continues, ‘I don’t have that sort of money to live in London?’ ‘You’ll make the money!’ I proclaim almost in despair. But what is it that drives me away from my Big Peace at that moment? Do I need to convince myself that I’m talented, that I can make the money before I can convince other people? Do I need to convince myself that nothing is impossible? Certainly that lady had convinced herself of that.

Perhaps I have achieved the impossible. I have achieved to live and make a life in a big and often scary city like London despite coming from a small and safe village in Greece of five hundred inhabitants, nothing like the fictitious Kalokeri depicted in Mamma Mia (and certainly with no Greek old ladies dancing to ABBA songs) and a family whose income could just about afford the basics, who had embraced and indulged in their limits. However, I took the plunge and came to London, battled with depression and unemployment during the recession following the year 2001 and now eight years later, I managed to be doing the job of my dreams at Greenpeace and have a great circle of friends in the most exciting city in the world – and I don’t want to hear any nonsense about NYC being the most exciting city, that used to be the case years ago.

I feel its now time to embrace my inner artist; come out of the shadows and into the spotlight. It’s time I indulged in the possibility of being a successful and prolific writer. Perhaps indeed, nothing is impossible.

Thank you Suzy and thank you Ms Cameron for this invitation to recover our inner artists.

Love and gratitude,

Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>