I will never regret the flying leap of a decision that it was to go from a 12-year-old career in the IT business to writing for a living. NEVER. But, I will say that a year and a half later, some of the shine of this decision has started to tarnish.
SO, just like anything else in life, when something loses its luster, you break out the solvents, and you shine whatever it is back up. For me, today, that “solvent and shine” was this quote from Alan Watts:
“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”
It’s true, Nothing gets my brain working like the tactile process of putting a thought on paper. I have been keeping journals since I was a kid, and I always thought it was funny that I wrote like I was expecting someone else to read it. I guess I was seeking an audience, or, at least, preparing myself for one, years before I had one. To this day, it cracks me up to go back and re-read things my 14-year-old self would write about. It’s no less amusing as an adult to read what I’ve written in the last few weeks.
SO, I guess I’ll go ahead and share some thoughts from my private collection of paper and scribbles:
So I was kicking around old writing ideas like a crushed can in a parking lot the other day, and I came across an idea that I’ve seriously recycled at least 15 times. It seems like every time I change note-taking formats, the fat gets trimmed, but this one has burrowed in like a tick, and I don’t have a lighter hot enough to burn it out.
The idea – in its origination, was basically the idea of “fighting against your petals.” The idea was that people are like flowers, in that as we bud – our petals protect us. They shelter us from the environment around us, and we have to fight through them and leave that protection to become who we are as people. It’s a beautiful notion in my head. I can almost visualize two hands clawing their way out from between petals of a flower as the person I am in my heart fights his way out. I mean, that’s what we do. We fight, and claw, and scratch to be more than who we are right this minute…
And then I take a sip of whiskey and think to myself, “Gammill, you are getting soft. Flowers ‘n shit.”
Yet the idea persists.
What if my petals are that exact mentality – that soft can’t be strong? I know exactly how hard of a man I am. Why is it that I think I have to maintain a titanium shell? Especially since I know that that the shell can be cracked, and dented, and shattered. Hell, I’ve seen it happen. I’m currently buffing out some pretty damn serious dents in that shell as we speak.
The notion of the petals existence are the very petals I am fighting against…