Monday, July 9, 2007

Unfettered, Unscheduled, Unschooled

I have a special notebook I keep with my other journals, a big unlined book about 10"x10" with hard covers (all the better for scribbling in), spiral bound (of course) with sheets of thick brown paper that remind me of postal-wrap. I began working in it about 16 months ago. It is my Big Book of Grand Ideas.

In my Big Book I have developed a Center for Creative Living, a small press, an intentional community, a cob house, an art and craft fair, a funky retail shop, a documentary film and a poetry chapbook. Of these Grand Ideas, three actually converged to form my erstwhile art gallery/creative center, and a fourth -- the small press -- is sprouting wings and getting ready to fly.

I am an ink-on-paper person. Dreaming on the page is how I operate. But I'm convinced that without the unfettered, unscheduled hours provided by our unschooling life, few if any of those dreams would ever be realized.

Developing a creative "what if" and moving it off the page often means clearing the decks, clearing the calendar, leaving a broad swathe of time in which to doodle and ponder, withdraw and connect, walk about and be still. Dreaming big takes time!

So we give ourselves time. Our days are spent wandering about, noodling on the computer, making art, poking around in the yard and down by the river, going to the library and the grocery store and the bookstore. We have a few scheduled activities, but only a few. Dragonstar is taking a weekly drama class that anchors her in a community of creative friends. I have tickets to a musical this weekend. We plan on seeing Harry Potter on opening day. But that's about as scheduled as we get.

We don't have scads of money. By contemporary standards we don't have much money at all. What we do have is a sense of authority over our lives. And guess what? You, me, that teenager down the street, we're all authors. How sad that so many of us feel we must give ourselves over to ghostwriters, to family and friends whose "good advice" can cripple our fledgling creative souls, as well as to "experts" and "authorities" who don't know us at all, don't understand our dreams, our vision, our passion, our gifts, but still feel compelled to instruct us in how best to live.

In truth, there are a multitude of ways to live. This thing we call unschooling is itself a big broad path. Walking it allows us to swing our arms, to reach for the sky. A mind not cramped by other people's notions of how things need to be is a mind that can give birth to Grand Ideas, those "what ifs" that could change your life, or change the world.

Everybody has dreams. I suggest you write yours down. Start a Big Book of your own. You never know what might come of it.

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