As a writer I’ve given myself the task of writing about one self-actualized person. Yes. Only one. It’s like writing about a martian in a way or maybe what it would be like to write about Custer and his charming wife Libby. I’m not self-actualized, by the way, so getting into the head of someone who is is at once a challenge and exceptionally freeing. Wow! Here’s a girl (Buck Crenshaw’s girl at the moment) who’s managed to get her basic needs met, says what needs to be said without a stammer or bone crushing guilt and has a few peak experiences along the way. Buck doesn’t know what to make of her, but he’s smiling through it all.
He’s the typical American man of the 19th century as Stephen Ambrose depicts them in Crazy Horse and Custer:
But this girl is farther up the triangle (if this really is a thing and I’m not so sure looking up from somewhere in the middle).
We’ll see what happens if you come with me through The House on Tenafly Road all the way to book five (which may actually be book four as at the moment I’m doing some heavy editing).
Grenville Dodge decides he really wants to build a railroad across a continent. No big deal. Custer throws himself headlong into crazy situations and by all accounts has a splendidly happy marriage and peak experiences galore. We can debate if he was a jerk or not or if the curls suited him. A group of girls mobbed him in the grand parade at the end of the Civil War, festooning him with flowers. His life was golden until he slipped off with some men and got them all slaughtered. Was that a peak experience or just crazy? When you read about Libby and Custer in her book Boots and Saddles you’re amazed at their bravery, good humor and love, living in tents and racing their horses. Self actualization with a cherry on top. Maybe one day I’ll go back to riding and race with reckless abandon, but for now I’ll write about Buck Crenshaw being in awe of this girl (he’s a little scared).
Anyone out there feeling self-actualized? I want to know!