Recent events provoked me to question my passion, my desire to do what I purport to be necessary, and I wrote about that issue last week. It will not go away!
Last time, I challenged my desire for success in comparison to what others are willing to do, and do in pursuit of their goals. The desire to achieve regardless of obstacles is oxymoronic; of course, it’s necessary. It’s easy to succumb to an obstacle; rationalization is a sneaky devil, one which never attacks when the writer is in full throttle. No, it’s waits for the smallest of openings to begin its subversive magic, multiplying with the veracity of vicious cancer. Recognizing those early openings becomes essential. A word about that later.
WHAT BESTIRS THE HEART?
My son, a professional photographer, spoke to me of a celebrated photographer – I can’t recall the name – and quoted the man as having said: “I’m not that talented, actually. I just work hard.” I’m equally familiar, as you, with that mantra. I’ve heard it voiced since I was a kid.
The better question might be “What stirs my heart?” Can it play to my writing? In what way?
There are several things that stir my blood, elevate my blood pressure, or cause me to pace and begin an internal monologue of fire and venom. One such catalyst is social injustice, the other being sports. This is not to suggest that my family’s well-being or safety does not motivate me; it does. I am addressing my creative life.
Many people might find these two catalysts unusual in their juxtaposition. I don’t. Sports reflect our social world, so it is for me reasonable that these two phenomenons should “trip my trigger.”
THE NEWS JUNKIE
I am admittedly a news junkie, either consuming televised news reports, or reading newspaper accounts all the time. I shall also admit another source of news: Facebook. Facebook is a cesspool. Choirs preaching to the choirs with an amazing lack of civility, thought, and logic. I have enough friends and acquaintances on both sides of every issue that I am continually seeing passionate beliefs from both sides. What is instructive in Facebook is the level of venom and stiff-arm tactics from both sides. Nobody engages, all simply lob talking points that are not debatable. They are not debatable because of how they are phrased. If the statements contain an indictment they are not debatable! My take-a-way is that we are short on civil discourse and alarmingly lacking in willingness to engage. It takes great restraint for me to refrain from commenting on Facebook. There are no reasonable discussions to be had with the opposing choir! So, Facebook is actually sobering.
Suffice it to say politics boils my blood, especially when there is something I perceive as a social injustice, stupidity, or a failure to understand history. My book has evolved into a political statement of sorts. But, it is still difficult to write, remain true to the premise, and not make it preachy. This is difficult to do, as well. I’ve never tried to write a sports story…
With regard to sports, I love the storylines of sports. Watching the recent Wimbledon finals, the match between Djokovic and Federer was the quintessential distillation of all I mean to discuss today. Both men are passionate in their pursuit of a Wimbledon Championship, both men are talented and playing well. My personal favorite was Federer because it would have been an amazing achievement for a man 34 years of age – old in tennis-speak. People have written Federer off for the past year, but he has roared back with a dance on the court. Federer Turns Back the Clock, read the headlines.
THE FINAL ARBITRATOR
Nobody beats time. Djokovic proved the better player today. Roger won something in a manner of speaking because he made it to the finals of Wimbledon yet again, but was turned back again in the finals by the same opponent of a year ago. I’m a sucker for the sports underdog, or the champion who does it right – ethics again.
Still time is the ultimate arbitrator – alliteration between arbitrator and traitor is too much to pass up. Time betrays us all, and perhaps time wins out over all the dedication, hard work, and passion we can muster.
So, if these things, politics and sports, seem to pull my strings, excite my passion, give rise to energy of action, I should try to utilize those two elements in my writing – simple enough, unless the real wall is time. No matter how much you may want, if there’s no energy to act… you’re screwed!
I mentioned earlier a return to a comment about aware of that creeping disease of rationalization. The one personal method I have used with some success to avoid the insidious encroachment has been meditation. Meditating twice a day, early morning and before going to bed, has helped maintain a healthy frame of mind and enable me to keep the real priorities firmly in the forefront of my mind. I recommend the use of meditation.
BURNISH YOUR HEART
Where time is concerned, I have no other choice but to try and burnish my mind with resolve, ala Djokovic, and try to ignore the fact that his resolve defeated Federer, who probably just ran out of gas… Still we can find some measure of burnishing for the heart when we realize that while Rodger lost the Men’s Singles Championship at the Cathedral of Tennis, he nonetheless played in the finals. So, I may never be a run-a-way NYT Best Seller, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be published and read with respect.
There is something on which to meditate!
Since you have read this far, I shall offer a bonus: The following is a voice recording of yours truly reading one of his short stories. This particular story is a favorite of my son who thinks it cries out for development into something larger. It is my one and only venture into science fiction.
THE SUN ALSO