Everyday Portals and Pathways

 This is not one of my doors, don't I wish! It's a lovely photo from Unsplash, photographer credited below.

This is not one of my doors, don't I wish! It's a lovely photo from Unsplash, photographer credited below.

In my new house there are five doors. I cannot tell you why I have five. Three seems excessive but manageable. Five? I don't know how this house was put together or who flipped it, but I guess they really needed to make an entrance! Or perhaps have several escape plans.

In my lifetime, I have crossed over the threshold of many doors, but the most memorable are the fictional ones from childhood, wherein I entered the realms of Middle Earth, or Star Wars, or Narnia, etc. Being able to move freely through dimensions, such as Mary Poppins in those sidewalk pictures, was how we kids got our energy and our joy. Portals are a lifelong fascination, you know? Is it because I need to believe that freedom is accessible even when it feels otherwise? 

I live in a body where pain is inescapable, and sometimes I let her haunt me. Sometimes I let her RULE me. And sometimes... I catch a brief glimpse of her in the mirror, appearing as she truly is: the lost and sobbing spark-of-fire fairy goddess child who just wanted to find joy when she set out on a path towards the murky forest-swamp of sadness thinking it would end in a rainbow of crystal sunlight and joy. And who knows, maybe it still will, if she keeps moving forward?

Call me ridiculous if you must! It is always freeing to paint a fairy tale picture that tells the story of everything you don't understand about life or yourself. When you're a writer, anything is a portal and everything is a path. Stories are a window to understanding your world, your thoughts, your joy and pain. Any pathway you take is a pathway of exploration, growth and adventure. (FYI, this is how beautiful bookworms are born, before they grow up to be gorgeous writing butterflies.)

We thrive on stories because they are not our reality, but they reflect a tiny portion of it in a way we can process and grasp. My dear friend Jenny Wells, of Jenny's Paper and Ink Books, stokes this storytelling bonfire on a weekly live stream and I highly recommend you watch it and follow her IG feed if you need to find fiction that transports you and later, maybe, transforms you.

Learning to alchemize stories into water, air, and sunlight for our sustenance is how we breathe when the breathing gets hard, hope when hope stands invisible. It is the story, the telling, and the reverence for storytellers and their tales, that will carry us forward whenever we are caught in a murk. It's extra special when you get to stop and ask a bookshop owner or a librarian for directions. Trust me. Try it!

We have some doors in our lives that are closed forever. Boarded up. Rusted shut. And maybe that's why excessively more than two is important. Maybe that's why I have an ever-growing home library of everyday portals and pathways into other worlds. And perhaps I do actually appreciate my home having lots of doors. They each offer a true but varied perspective. 

This week, I am going to make an effort to step outside a different one every day, taking in the scenery from its unique viewpoint. Who knows what is beyond these everyday portals if I open my eyes and employ my imagination? I do have an inkling:

I believe, with all my heart, the stories I need will find me.

Jamie Bagley