Daring in the Daylight

"All men dream, but not equally. those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." -T.E. Lawrence

Ten months ago, almost to the day, October 19th 2009, I took four steps into a crosswalk and the story of my life became a cautionary tale. Suddenly, I was the girl who'd been hit by a car. It didn't matter that I'd climbed Mt. Whitney the summer before or that I had moved to Los Angeles 2 years prior with my sights set on leaving my mark on the world.

I'm on staff at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. I work in the school of Psychology. I place graduate psychology students in their field placements in order to become doctors. It was a Monday morning. It was gray and chilly. I was crossing the street to deliver paperwork to the registrar's office for my students. I was wearing cute shoes that matched my pleated skirt and cotton blouse. I had spent the week before in Jury Duty which means it was a Monday morning that I was actually glad to be at work. I stood at the corner of Madison and Walnut, waiting to cross Madison. The signal turned green and the little walking man flashed. I stepped into the crosswalk as a student driving down Walnut, trying to make the "yellow" light, made a left turn onto Madison and sent me flying.

What I remember of the accident is sort of fragmented and fuzzy. It comes to me in flashes and still frames like the left over splices of film tossed on the cutting room floor when the director has left the building and there is no real way of piecing them back together. I saw the glint of silver as the grill of the Honda came close. Next, the hood of the car as my face hurtled toward it. I heard myself screaming, as if from far away or underwater and I had time to ask myself, "Who is making that girly, high pitched noise?" It was me. I was making a sound I didn't know I was capable of. A Hitchcock worthy scream. Blue sky. Black asphalt. More blue sky. I bounced at least twice before landing some fifteen feet away on my left hip and shoulder. My shoes stayed planted exactly where I had been standing as I was sent hurtling through space.

I walked out of the hospital with barely any marks on me. Just a little road rash on the palms of my hands. I was told that I was lucky. I didn't feel lucky. I felt like I'd been hit by a car. I was told that I would make a quick recovery. I was told to give myself some time to heal. I am never good at that. It has been a painful and slow process. I spent some time asking myself questions like, "What am I supposed to be learning from all this?" And, "What should I have done differently?" The answer to both is simple and not very deep. Just be careful when you cross the street. It was an accident. An accident that flipped my entire life upside down. My response to these events is up to me. How will I walk away changed? What will my next dramatic turn be?

Currently, I am working on my MFA in creative writing. I still work at Fuller. In the fall, I will be teaching my first creative writing class. My life is full and I'm excited about the future. Yet, I've had this idea in the back of my head for quite some time now... It's starting to wake me up at night. I find myself talking about it with friends and no one is talking me out of it.

So, here's my big idea:

I want to create a space for creative community. More specifically, I want to have studio space where we can teach art or knitting classes... where we can have an art gallery opening... where we can have bands come and practice... When we are using our imaginations in concert with our hands, the most miraculous new ideas actually take shape. The truth is, endeavoring in a new creative way, helps people open up and begin to share more of who they are with the world at large. I have heard the most incredible stories from each of the women I teach to knit.

So, it starts with a space. In Los Angeles, location is everything. It needs to be easy to get to, have free parking, and enough space for storage and teaching classes. Ideally, it would have smaller rooms, below or above to rent out to artists on a more permanent basis... creating artistic community and making it self sustainable. I would also need a website to advertise these art classes and events. Eventually, there could be some kind of magazine or other publication that could come out of all this creativity. The possibilities are endless. I'm not even sure what to call it yet.

There is also potential to move into a neighborhood that is a little off the beaten path and revitalize it. Another bonus, we could set up unofficial mentors for people to be challenged creatively and spiritually. Again, this could get big. Bigger than me. If you know me and are still reading this, you know you are welcome to join me...

I read a book several months ago by Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He talks about who we are choosing to be and the story we are telling with our lives. He's holding a conference in Portland, Oregon this September. If I had a chance to ask him a question about his book, this would be it: If conflict and suspense make for better stories, how do you recover between these things and make yourself ready for the next one... and not burnout?

You can learn more about the story conference here: