I subscribe to a fair number of email newsletters, ranging from purely humorous, to other bloggers to business stuff. One I get often is the Gapingvoid feed. This week it sparked a retrospective series of thoughts.
Gapingvoid is the cartoon/motivational range developed by one Hugh MacLeod… an ex New York ad guy who has gone out on his own and now lives in Texas. He does some interesting stuff and is most widely know as that guy who did cartoons on business cards. Check his site out here: Gaping Void.
In any event, one of his more recent ones read: All good ideas must die: So that great ones may live.
This made me pause for thought. One of the things that I have realised since embarking on a full time writing life is that it is not all sunshine and roses from a mindset point of view. In essence the achieving of the goal is also the death of a long held and cherished dream. It is an idea that I am killing as I move further and further into ‘being’ a writer.
As a result, I find myself sometimes on a slippery slope, wondering what drives my ambitions now that I have engaged so fully with this one. Until I realise that this one is an ever changing vista that will occupy me until my dying day, but you get the point.
For me, Hugh’s cartoon and my thoughts point to the same idea: that dreams are often nice safe little bolt holes where we run when the going gets tough. Often there is no intent to actually make them real. It’s the “One day everything will be all right because…” thought that we use as a crutch to get through everyday life. Now, instead of comforting myself at the end of a hard day with what I will one day do, I use what I am already doing as comfort when the lights dim a bit.
I wonder if this thought has anything to do with that Zen notion that if you see the Buddha on the road, you must kill him. It’s not about what is ahead or outside of you, but about what is going on now, who you ARE.
So, in the midst of ongoing frustration around the printing of my next book, I must recline against the thoughts of it actually being a reality, of it being part of a well-established process and that one day, it will happen. Apparently I have no control over when.
So, if you have a cherished dream that you reach out for in times of need, my advice is to get out there and kill it through living it. Lift your eyes to the horizon. In many ways otherwise it is just another panacea peddled to you by the man!