I could never do that

Soon after discovering the monumental Seth Godin, I unsubscribed from his email list and decided never to think of him again.

Not only was it frustrating that some of his blogs were just a couple of lines — not even paragraphs — but it was frustrating that I had written nothing at all.

Writing a daily blog always seemed like the sort of thing I should be doing and yet, for some reason, could never quite manage to do.

Seth’s wonderfully elegant and effortless scrawling reminded me that for all I called myself a writer, I could never do that.

It was magic if I wrote once every six months. And a miracle if it got shipped once a year. Whatever it was that people like that had, I didn’t have it.

I could never do that.

Seven years later and Seth Godin pops up in my life again, talking about The Practice.

And suddenly, it all made sense.

The outcome wasn’t the point; just like ‘enlightenment isn’t the point of meditating.

Don’t write to sell a book. Don’t write to get rich (good luck with that). Don’t write to get famous.

Write every day because that’s what writers do.

All those years spent trying to change into someone worthy of writing every day — a real writer — were just me hiding from myself. 

All it took was actually doing it, and all of a sudden, I was.

 

 

A life in pulp fiction

When I was but knee-high to a grasshopper, Dad would often pop his head into whatever bubble I was in at the time and spin a battered and yellowing paperback onto my lap.

“Here, read that. You’ll like it,” he would say.

Then he’d wander off to build a homeless shelter or a school or a choir or whatever else he was crafting for the world at the time.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realize that he was crafting me too.

Those books prepared me for things I would encounter later in life that there are no lessons for; love, drugs, adventure, luck, betrayal, and death.

Those ageing and comically-fronted tomes of pulp fiction changed the way I thought about the world.

They opened my eyes to the possibilities and the madness and the complex, crushing beauty of it all.

And I wouldn’t be me without them.