I was recently reminiscing about the classic film The Wiz, a clever, upbeat adaptation of The Wizard of Oz with a cast full of people of color. I remembered Dorothy, played by the ever-classy Diana Ross (those cheekbones! those eyelashes!) being plucked from her home by that dreadful tornado. She was forced to fend for herself in a world that wasn’t hers. She cried a lot. She cried some more. But in the end, the tornado wasn’t half bad. She made some new friends, learned some things about herself and she sang some killer songs that I revisit way too much on YouTube.
At some point in the past few months, I decided that I, too, wanted to be swept up in that same tornado as Dorothy—that I wanted it so very much. At some point, I decided that my life was mundane—that I was thirsty and restless and that what I had wasn’t quite enough. New York is nice (and expensive) and it will always be nice (and expensive). But, I want to putter around in Oz for a bit.
I’m going to let the tornado take me where it takes me. I’m going to let it to scoop me up by my ankles and stir me around and spit me out. And I want to come out stronger on the other side: a stronger person and a stronger artist.
A few days ago, I picked up Jane Beatty’s lovely book of poems Boneshaker (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002). A certain passage spoke to me:
defiant at home/poor impulse control/
my wild girl fire was spinning—
Yes, I’ve got that same wild girl fire.
When I’ve told people of my plan to leave my life and plop into another one, their eyes become wide and they mutter off a long string of questions. Well, do you have family there? Do you know anyone? Do you have a job lined up? What are you going to do? Are you scared?
Of course I’m scared—I’m only human. But sometimes, when there’s a hunger inside of you, you’ve got to feed it—despite whether or not you’ve got a plan. I have a savings account and a brain and a thirst for adventure. Will there be bumps? Oh yes. It’s quite easy to romanticize the act of picking up your life and starting over. But it’s also easy to let fear settle in and become complacent and bored and uninspired. I’d like to find a happy medium.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Her Circle Ezine community. It’s been lovely to be a part of a group of smart, creative women. I’m leaving now—I’m going to let my wild girl fire spin. But while I’m gone, I hope you’ll let your wild girl fire spin, as well.
Lauren Nicole Nixon is a Brooklyn-based artist representative, teaching artist and poet. Nixon holds an M.A. in Arts Politics from New York University. Recent work can be seen in Bone Bouquet, Clockhouse, Puerto del Sol, Sugar House, The Tulane Review, Aforementioned Productions, Spillway and No, Dear. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, There’s a Jukebox in the Back, will be published in summer 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. http://www.laurennicolenixon.com/