Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Importance of Being Eager
Excuse me for a moment while I get eager.
The best advice I ever got about writing came from, believe it or not (ha!) the Bible. God knows (ha!) how I feel about Jesus, but since both he and the advice was a metaphor, I think it works.
Anyway, the sermon on the mount. Jesus is going to speak to a crowd of hundreds who, because they expect a dinner with the show, are looking to not only be given the Word Of G-D, but some fish and maybe some bread too. The disciples are shocked to find that they only have six loaves of bread and six fishes -- not enough to feed everyone, obviously, but Jesus tells them to start handing out food. The disciples, confused, do as they're told -- what good would disciples be if they didn't do as told? -- and some how, the crowd is fed. Every one is satisfied.
Had they tried to split up all the food so everyone got the exact amount that they deserved, no one would get anything, but by acting like they'd never run out, everyone had enough.
I'd come to a Professor because I was stalled, blocked. I had an image that I wanted to build on for a story, but my confidence was so shot, I didn't want to waste it on a story I felt I'd never have the guts or follow through to finish. Hence this little lecture: If I kept hoarding ideas like I'd only have one good chance to do something with them, I'd never get even that one story done.You have to give it away like you're never going to run out.
If you treat your work, your talent, your ideas, like you're going to run out, you will. Writing begets writing. Thought begets thought, etc.
But lately I've been thinking that this doesn't just apply to writing, or even fish and bread. It pretty much applies to everything, but what's prompted me to post on this has been thinking about a need for validation.
If you need validation, you have to give it. I know I personally have been treating validation, and to a larger extent love, as if they were finite substances. Treating them both as though I need to delineate exactly how much everyone needs -- which means of course that there's never enough, especially not for my voraciousness. If you want validation and love you have to give it away like you're never going to run out, because then you never will. Creativity, validation, love: these are infinite. These are the proper destinies of the human heart.
Here endeth the lesson.
(Cheers Prof. Russell)