Quinn just posted this on his blog and I wanted to re-post it here. Just one comment. That one chapter is over but we're early in the book.
It's been a strange week. I called Jeff and remarked to him on the phone today, "I think I know what the astronauts felt like the week after they got back from the moon".
In their case, they were hand picked by our government, trained and prepared for years. One day in the midst of all that hard work, they walked in a place so sacred, so remote that only the meta-physical hearts of philosophers and astrologers had preceded them. They bounded like kangaroos in near weightlessness while looking through a gold visor.
The next week, gravity is back. Your bones are sore. Tripping over door thresholds half an inch high., Driving terrestrial vehicles to work. Without a doubt, they had to know, that the greatest moment in their life, and maybe in the lives of any man in history, was over. How do you go to a store and buy a gallon of milk, fill up your car, and mow the lawn with that bitter gem in your mind.
I didn't go to the moon. But I did journey with a very special team of people. We ended up swimming twenty miles in open ocean. I saw (perhaps evaded?) deep water sharks, I don't know, four times? I body surfed into a forbidden island over lava rock, walked the sand, and then was chased off at rifle point. I drank deep from it. I lived a lot. I don't think I will ever swim a channel like that again. I don't think I would even wish it on myself if I could. Anyway, regardless it's over.
Once again, I'm a computer programmer. A guy at a desk. My most important job is to be a husband and father. Don't misunderstand, that IS a real treasure, warmer than brandy in egg-nog. But, my point is, the excitement, the FIGHT, the achievement, the goal and the reward. It's over; the glory days were last week.
Often times, when I'm making sense of what I'm feeling, art helps. Sometimes it's also utilitarian. Unlike a camera, your mind is always with you. If you are lucky enough to be able to draw what you have in your mind, it really helps alleviate the personal scale 'cosmic whimper'.
I got sick of fighting with compilers and computers this evening, and switched to paper and pencils. I thought very hard about what I remembered from my Ni`ihau welcoming committee (you can read about the incident in the post below). When you draw something like this, it is very important that you remember the details before pencil goes to paper. Images, and especially video have a way of replacing memories. If you draw a lie, soon it will be the truth in your mind. When you reflect the truth onto paper, it's a wonderful feeling. Like memories as water running down your shoulders and off your finger tips.
Good therapy for the welcome home blues.