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My Own Words

Arrogance, Delusions, and Writing

[Please assume that I wrote several blindingly brilliant paragraphs about why I fell off the writing bandwagon. That last one about courageously getting back on was awesome though, huh?]

One of my favorite books to recommend and/or give away is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is a simple little book that tells writers ( and painters, and software engineers, and parents, and pretty much anyone with a pulse ) the truth about creating something: it’s scary, there is resistance, and the only way through is courage. I re-read this book about every 12-18 months to remind myself that I can, in fact, take charge of so many of my decisions and that doing so is a far better option than lamenting that I haven’t done anything yet.

So I sat down to write and slammed into a wall. You can call it imposter syndrome. You can call it Resistance. I was simply overwhelmed with how arrogant public writing can be. “Hey, everybody! Look over here! I have something I want to say that is relevant to remarkably few of you!”

Honestly, who am I to write? Who am I to expect you to come and read something I have to say when you literally have an entire planet of voices and opinions you can listen to? And honestly, at the moment, maybe a dozen of my social media friends will read this … who am I to waste their time? (Because my friends are awesome, but frequently busy)

The truth is, all at once, I am no one, really. I’m a 40-something white guy who thinks he can write (not exactly an uncommon thing) and who has struggled, and continues to struggle, with questions of faith and science. I’m a huge nerd who really wants to talk about Star Wars sometimes, but is willing to make room in my heart for Star Trek, BSG, and Firefly. I have strong opinions about $3 gel pens and notebooks you can buy at Staples. Does the world need more of that? Isn’t there enough of all of that already?

Probably.

God knows I have spent far too many hours reading blog posts about productivity systems like GTD, fountain pen ink reviews, and fan theories about Game of Thrones, a show I don’t even watch. With the roaring noise of all these voices, why would I add mine?

For a while, I didn’t have an answer to that one.

Today, though … today I have a word picture in mind. This isn’t so much about me finding an audience or seeking fame and popularity (not saying I won’t take that if it comes, but …). Rather, I am just one of several billion travelers on this rock that tears around the sun every 365 days. And it’s a scary journey. None of us know what tomorrow will bring, so there’s always that gnawing away at our psyches. But there are real and actual scary things happening around us today. Racism. Terrorism. Politics. Neglected and forgotten people. Debt. Pain. Sickness. Death.

And since I am still learning about real community and friendship; since I am among the first digital natives who found community online easier than IRL; since I am scared and confused like so many of us are, I’m choosing to share my stories and thoughts just to remember that I am not alone. Someone out there read my words once. Someone out there needed to know that someone else was out there.

It turns out, that is why I read your blogs. To hear another voice in the darkness and stumble toward their flickering flame to circle around and share stories.

I take a lot of comfort in knowing that you can un-follow me if you find me annoying or insert-your-negative-here, because really, I’m just talking to hear my own voice. Writing to remind myself that I am alive and have a heart. In the end, I could end up like Tom Hanks in that movie, writing a blog so that a volleyball can read it. That’s OK. It keeps me sane.

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