Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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As writers, we struggle every day with our image.  If we’re not writing then we’re thinking about our writing and what others are thinking about our writing, holding our breath as we click on the comments or open the email, worried that the criticism will be negative.  We exhale audibly when it isn’t… grit our teeth when it is.

Many critics, qualified or not, will always find the good.  “Keep at it,” or “You’re almost there,” or “I like your snarky sense of humor.”

Many critics, qualified or not, won’t.  “That’s interesting,” is the BEST compliment they can offer.  “That’s interesting,” is about the worst thing someone can say about your writing.

Does any of it really matter?  Who are YOU to judge my work… and who the hell am I to judge yours?  Should I worry about whether or not you like my article any more than whether or not you like my Christmas sweater?

Case in point:  When I was in grammar school, I was pretty darn close to the boys who lived across the street from me.  One is a year older than me, the other a year younger.  When I was about ten years old, they moved across town and our relationship, although still intact, diminished in frequency of visits and such.  By the end of high school, we seldom talked.

After another ten years or so had passed, I made attempts to contact those old boys.  Those attempts were ignored… and I didn’t think much about it.  Then, with the advent of social media, the means I use to connect with people I hadn’t EVER spoken to while in school, my attempts at rekindling our friendship were rejected.

What had I done to them so long ago?  What is wrong with me?  Why would they shun me so?  Maybe they didn’t like my Christmas sweater?

More years passed.

Recently, an uncle of those boys passed away.  My wife, through her employer, knows the deceased’s wife pretty well, and they had become pretty good friends over the years.  In order to support her friend, my wife and I attended the funeral.  Of course, we’d long known of the widow’s association to those former friends of mine, but my showing up at the funeral was a complete surprise to them.

The greeting I received was cold, at best.  That’s okay, I wasn’t there for them anyway.

My wife and I spent nearly an hour at the funeral, socializing with a few of the mourners, and I had a good amount of time to observe my former friends socializing with their extended family.

Now, this post is supposed to be about me.  It’s supposed to be about how I feel about myself and how others see me as a writer.  It is not intended as a passive-aggressive assault on some former friends who wouldn’t talk to me.

They’re standing off to one side, talking to each other.  They’re greeting their OWN FAMILY as they greeted me.  They’re having difficulty engaging in conversation with their own kin.

HOLY SHIT, THEY’RE SOCIAL MORONS.

See, sometimes, when you’re sure it’s about you, it isn’t about you at all.

This doesn’t mean that you should blow off criticism as the advice of an idiot.  Criticism can be the meteor that changes history.  But if the criticism isn’t of the constructive kind, then it’s best to consider the source, rather than the words.

Believe in yourself.  Have faith in YOU.  You can accomplish anything you want, regardless of what others say.

I have never owned nor worn a Christmas sweater, by the way.

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INSPIRATION COMES IN MANY FORMS

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I am inspired today by the heat of the sun and water in the street, the sound of rushing fluids draining into the grated iron on the street corner.  I may have forgotten that snow is mortal.  Its death brings new life to me at this time each year.

I am inspired by the generosity of those closest to me, their words of encouragement and motivation, their smiles, their warmth, their selfless gifts of time spent, confidence, and optimism.

I am inspired by the hospitality and kindness of strangers.  People who have taken a moment or a minute, perhaps a quarter-hour of one day of their life, to offer comfort or wisdom, faith or criticism, or maybe a one-word vote of confidence such as, “Nice!”  It is a travesty to label such people “strangers.”

Today, I am inspired by you simply because you’re reading this.

Thank you.

A LASTING LEGACY

Posted: February 10, 2014 in Life
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What would you like to be remembered for after you’re gone?

A service, perhaps, to humanity, wildlife, the planet, or a god?  Devotion to an individual, your family, a cause, a religion?

Maybe you’d like to be remembered for an idea, an invention, or a passion for something.  Are you aiming to be the best in your field, your sport, your genre, or your art?

Are you wishing to be famous… or perchance, infamous, which are similar and yet very different.  Famous is an “is” amid the living, and a “was” among the dead.  Infamous shall always be an “is.”  To be famous is to be acclaimed or illustrious, grand or renowned.  Being famous is glorious.  To be infamous is to be notorious and flagrant, overt and blatant.  Being infamous is scandalous.

Amelia Earhart was famous.  Bonnie Parker is infamous.

Are you struggling with the entire equation?  Are you looking for the meaning of life?  Are you searching for God, for Zen, for Karma, for your own spirit?

Do you look to your ancestors to predict your future, your descendants, your reason?  Are your everyday activities connected to your vision of how the world shall one day look at you?  Have you switched occupations because you don’t want future generations to see you as a clerk, a farmer, a garbage man, or a fry cook?

I can relate.  I’ve done it.  I’ve looked, I’ve worried, I’ve dreamt, I’ve changed course.

I’ve devoted half of my life to serving others.  I’ve worked with the less fortunate, the developmentally disabled, the emotionally disturbed, and the mentally ill.  I’ve been at five alarm fires and 3 am car wrecks.  I spend my weekends giving old ladies breathing treatments, dodging projectile vomit, and marveling at pitted edema.

I write as a means to put a permanent footprint on the world.  If my name’s in print or on the web or on the back of this napkin, then the world will remember, won’t it?

But what is it that  I  would like to be remembered for after I’m gone?

Simple acknowledgement.

Goodwill.  Obligation.  Recognition.  Indebtedness.  Retrospective sympathetic affection.  Gratitude.  Lots and lots of gratitude.

I want to be remembered for being thankful.  I want to be remembered for being so very grateful to God, to my family for being my family… to my dear friends and my not-so-dear ones, too, for being there for me.  Remember me for appreciating the small things, like sunny days and rainy days, a smile, a well-timed frown, a door held open and another one closed.  Remember me for making the biggest deal out of the smallest of favors.

Remember me for recognizing a badge of kindness and for forgiving indifference.

Most of all, remember me for never missing the opportunity to say “Thank you.”

Thank you.