Tuesday, November 20, 2012
On the often tedious and difficult task of writing, Oscar Wilde once quipped, "I was working on the proof...all morning and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."
As so often happens here on the BCB, the photos and video on this post will take readers one place, text another. Most of the time a good photograph needs no explanation, anyway. Musings, however, are another story.
Over a lifetime, we all ask questions like, "Should I give it a shot... should I go for it?" Inevitably, at some point later in time, comes a followup question, "What's the use in beating my head against the wall?" The "It" can be any number of things, from a struggling business venture, relationship, artistic endeavor... even starting a family; anything that requires a colossal amount of work, time, energy, and sacrifice. It seems like people can justify getting out of almost anything these days, including raising their own offspring.
Whatever the "it" is, "truth" is often not what you want to hear when seeking guidance. Always try to remember that good friends tell you what you want to hear, while real friends tell you what you need to know. In "Deep Truth," Gregg Braden tells us that "truth is empowering," and the "key" to empowerment is that, "the better we know ourselves, the clearer the choices in our lives become." (Thank you for that book, Caleb)
In the book, "Seven Steps on the Writers Path," by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott, "punches" are not pulled. Recall the lines from "A few Good Men," Cruise: "I want the truth!" Nickolson: "You can't handle the truth!" But it's "truth" that sets us free, right? Well, that depends on your definition of "free." Pickard and Lott: "As a writer...sometimes you will feel overjoyed and sometimes you will feel despair. Sometimes writing will feel so good that you'll fool yourself into thinking you've got it licked... happy forever. Enjoy it while it lasts." Even when confronted with the unlikely-to-the-point-of-rare success, with all the subsequent acclaim, most writers remain insecure, only as good as their last poem, post, article, or book. When doubt lurks in the shadows of midnight hours, take heart in Bertrand Russell's remark that, the "stupid" go off "cocksure," while the "intelligent are full of doubt."
Writing on any level, even children's books, is just plain hard and scary work. When it's done correctly, proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, it can be tedious and difficult. All that aside, and much worse, what if your "hard work" doesn't get read? What if it's not noticed or appreciated? Does that mean you are not a writer, after all? How many manuscripts make the "rounds," and end up collecting dust on a shelf? Such rejection. Lance Armstrong once said, "a boo is louder than a cheer," and I believe him. Gee, I can't imagine how he must feel now that his seven Tour De France medals have been stripped away. I would argue that it's similar for writers... that the indifference of "silence" is a dagger to the soul. And you wonder why bloggers need comments...
"Some" suggest we employ gadgetry, that we should lower "expectations," thereby elevating the mundane to satisfactory levels. Balderdash. What is that but fooling and cheating ourselves out of life... the lessons of disappointment, the value of "hard work," the reaching for an occasional "postcard" to lift and reward desperate spirits? Lower expectations? Really? It smacks of Dr Spock-for-adults... in case we "can't handle the truth." That's how more than a few of us raised our children, reading and heeding Dr Spock... avoiding that harshest of all words, "No." How's that working' out for us? Mustn't stress the little darlings psyches, so let's lower expectations from "A's" to "C's." Let them have their "childhood." Hell, why stop there? Why not extend "childhood?" Let's give them a big fat allowance so they don't have to work. Let's let them sleep in when they come home at 2 in the morning. Let's delay the real world with free money, cars and playtime. Let's give them our own hard-won lifestyles until they are out of college and beyond, then help them purchase a four bedroom two story in the burbs as soon as they get married. Spoiled to death comes to mind.
Speaking as someone who is attempting to pry their way into the writing life through the back door... someone who chose to freeload in college with "soft" classes, avoiding math, science and english like disease... I have doubts that my "foundation" can support the lofty writing goals in my head. With all due respect, Mr Russell, if that makes me "intelligent" I'd rather be "stupid" and published.
And just when I want to throw in the towel, like so many other times before, Pickard and Lott write nothing short of a soliloquy about the immense, mountain moving power of "desire."
Then, with the reader sitting tongue out and panting in the palm of their ink stained hands... they ask the fundamental un-spock-like question, "How bad do you want it?"
Today's photos of Susan's Really Big Mountain Bike Adventure are combined with video footage and posted for your enjoyment on YouTube. Click HERE, to watch in a larger HD format (be sure to select the HD format on once at YouTube).
Readers with limited gigs can choose a smaller on-site watching option by clicking on the top video in the right hand sidebar. Our bike ride was a loop up, over, and down, Hurricane Mesa/Smith Mesa, on a gorgeous, gorgeous day. I hope you enjoy it.