When we last left our intrepid explorer, he was about to embark on a fantastic journey into the darkest depths of the Continent of Creative Endeavors. He had novels to write, music to compose, as well as one or two naps to take.
At the time of his departure, he had in fact already put behind him some two songs toward his next album and some twenty-seven thousand words toward his next book. A good start, no doubt, but there was more to discover—far more. His plans were to explore the Jungles of the Imagination for a few months and then triumphantly return with trophies anew, wondrous to behold.
We stood on the river bank that day and watched as he loaded his canoe with fresh supplies: blank paper, a guitar, a fluffy pillow. Adjusting his pith helmet, he climbed into the small watercraft, waved, and pushed off toward the thick and forbidding trees. With just a few strong paddle-strokes, the jungle swallowed him and we saw him no more.
Would he find what he was seeking? And, more to the point, would he ever get out?
But wait! What’s that?! A rustling sound deep in the trees. It’s coming towards our camp! The unmistakable sound of heavy boots trampling the foliage punctuated here and there by a deftly handled machete.
We stand and we stare hopefully in the direction of the growing clamor. Moments pass. Fortunately, just as we’re about to collectively pass out from holding our breath for six straight minutes, he appears! The explorer has returned!
He definitely looks worse for the wear. He is dirty, he is scarred, and his pillow had a large bite taken out of it. His pith helmet apparently opted out of the return journey. The canoe, dragging unwillingly behind him, looks as if to say, “I should have stayed behind with the funny hat.”
But surely he has returned with the promised trophies! All of this would be worth it if he accomplished his mission, right?
“I have returned,” he says in a weak voice.
Our group exchanges hopeful glances. Here it comes.
“And I stand before you empty-handed.”
Our collective gasp draws the canoe an inch closer.
“Say it isn’t so!”
“It is very much so,” he returns.
“Then at least tell us of your adventures. A fruitless trip needn’t be an uneventful trip!” we said in unison, as if reading from a bad movie script. We pretend not to notice how tired and sad he looks.
“You’re probably wondering what happened in there?”
“Well, I got busy at work. And then this other thing came up. Then I had to go a couple places and do some random stuff that I wasn’t expecting . . .”
We now exchange concerned glances.
“And before I knew it, bam! I was right back here,” he finishes.
“That’s it?” we ask.
“Why that’s the worst story we’ve heard all year! You set up this big send-off for yourself last spring and promise us all this cool stuff and then all that happened is you got busy at work?”
“Well, yeah. And . . . and that other stuff too,” he offers. “You heard that part, right?”
Dejected, we begin to disperse and walk away, returning to our own lives.
“Wait! Wait!” he calls. “I’m still gonna do all that! Help me with my boat!” he says as he begins dragging the reluctant canoe back toward the water. “Honest! I mean it this time!”
Will our intrepid explorer head out into the jungle again? Will he ever finish a book or an album or get that pillow repaired? Tune in next year and find out!”