Monday, 8 September 2008

"If you wish to be a writer, write!"

When Epictetus penned (or said) those words, little did that Greek Stoic philosopher of the first Century know that they would come to mean so much to me. Within, there is a tight-rope woven by the sanguine mix of love and reverence, for the art of perfect writing; this is what separates me from, and yet, connects me to home. Like Frost said, "Home is the place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in." Ahhh. That belonging.

There is so much to write; so much to write about things known and almost completely. As a former professor once told me, "The last word has not been said on anything." True dat.

So, ok. Fine. I know, the whole "perfect writing" thing is a tad elusive. But, you do see where I'm coming from, right? Or, at least, where I'm heading? Each of us sets out to do something remarkable, great, incredible, noteworthy, memorable, extraordinary with our lives. Whether we know it when we are young, or not, that's the journey upon which we embark. Perhaps it's not until we are in our late teens or twenties (for some), thirties or forties (or even later, for others) that we come to recognize the God-given talent or the passion or the zeal or the yearning or the knack or the gift or or or ... But, when we do recognize it, we also come to understand that everything in our lives, up to that point, played a valuable role in getting us there. And everything before that point was a part of the journey toward doing that thing extraordinary and memorable.

Here's the thing (and I do love Monk, yes). Recognizing the it, is one thing. Understanding the value - the life-saving value - of the it, is quite another. It must be life-saving value that is inherent in the it. You know the saying, "Good intentions die unless they are executed", right? The it is kinda like that. Actually, the it is exactly that. Have you never felt like you're suffocating? Just running out of live-saving air? All because you are just not doing that which you should be? In order to live, to the fullest, you need to do it.

And, understand completely that this it needs to be executed by you - the only person in the history of mankind who was ever born to do it. Then, go right ahead and do it, with everything that is in you.

Do it!

That's the tight-rope I've been walking. At some points in my life, I've balanced pretty well; covered some ground. Other times, I've got distracted by doubt. And doubt is slippery stuff. Other times, I lose my footing because my eyes are looking on at others achieving the extraordinary and immediately I begin to wonder whether I could really achieve that; they're doing what I want to do and already are doing it so well...what's the point? Even if I could, do I have the time? Enough time? Time. Time. Oh, the thoughts that occupy my mind.

Clearly, it has taken me a while to realize that that which I was born to do is only mine to do. So, there is no 'perfect writing'. There is, however, my writing. And, when I write what I should write; what is mine to write; what I was born to write; and, what is more, write to the last drop of this wonderful, amazing, hilarious, fantastic, enigmatic, beautiful, incredible, glorious, fragile, virginal, kaleidoscopic adventure of my life, I would have, without doubt or fear - not even a little bit - done the extraordinary and the memorable (and all I mentioned before and then some!)

And I'd have made it home!


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