Do you take your abilities–your life–for granted?
Taking something for granted means expecting something or someone will always be there…not giving thanks nor recognition to that person nor ability. To value something or someone très lightly.
I read a September 5th PW “Why I Write,” by Duff McKagan, and he said something that got me to thinking: books and their writers he holds in high esteem…the undertaking of writing a book is not something to be taken lightly…and words are a “currency” he highly values.
Okay, this is DUFF MCKAGAN, we’re talkin about–the rock star?
He’s also a self-confessed book nerd and has written his own effort, It’s So Easy (and other lies).
I wondered how many writers out there actually take their own superpower for granted. It sounds stupid, doesn’t it, that any of us would actually do such a thing…but, still…I query.
Writing. Duff loves it. Values it.
But,to all of us, after a while it might become like breathing, you just ASSUME it’ll always be there, that word-slingin superpower of yours. Yeah, you might have been saunterin’ down a Colorado Gold or PPWC hotel hallway, feelin mighty proud of your bad self (and your swagger), hittin that pitch so dead on that the agent or editor drooled themselves into a catatonic state (after signing you on the spot, of course). Or you corrected a passerby’s dangling youknowwhat. Or perhaps you’d even given a rousing presentation to an SRO crowd, a crowd that gave you fifteen (plus!) minutes of continuous and teary-eyed applause.
Or maybe you even helped a struggling and emotional wet-behind-the-ears writer out of a rut and talked him or her into becoming your competition in a few years (yeah, you cried inside–but you kept it inside…).
Yeah, you fucking rock.
I used to feel that way. That I was a writer and I would always be a writer.
Until the day when I wasn’t any more. Suddenly and quite inexplicably.
I think I’d mentioned this before. Perhaps for a later post the reason, but the point is…that I’d suddenly felt I’d lost my ability to write. It was more than your standard, run-of-the-mill “writer’s block,” I’m not sure how I’m gonna actually term it, but I had all these ideas, even story plans…all in my head…but nothing was coming out. I guess I’ve been calling it my “writer’s blockade,” because that’s more what it actually felt like. It’s not that I had no ideas, no stories, it’s just that they weren’t translatin into reality–weren’t gettin out of my head.
For three years!
Okay, I’d written a short story and worked on already existing work–but, you see my friggin dilemma?
Now, I seem to be back in business, but my point is, is that since that weirdness, I’ve been far more appreciative of what ability I have. Even if it’s but a wee, minor superpower, it’s my wee, minor superpower. I can write, and I do write well (okay, maybe I’ve grown a little rusty on some of the finer points o grammar…). That’s not ego, arrogance, nor anything like that, it’s simply courage to know myself and my abilities, which is the first step to thanking that ability (or Superior Being, or reincarnational self, soul, or whatever…) for residing within me. Yes, we do it so often and sometimes so quickly we don’t always have time to be thankful that whatever is within us allows us to word smith, but when we do have those Zen moments of wandering thoughts and free time (!), do we ever give thanks to that which we wield so powerfully?
There are times–don’t laugh–I simply utter a “thank you” out into the universe. That’s it. Just those two words. When something great or good or cool happens to me. It doesn’t matter to whom or Whom I might be addressing, just that I’m acknowledging a cool thing happened, and it was good.
Admit it. We curse the living shit out of situations that piss us off, or make us angry or frustrated, do we not (hey, my hands are raised high and proud–and I frequently get rather potty mouthed about it, too)?We’re all so quick to damn and rage, but heaven forbid we thank something or someone for something positive.
Do we ever think and thank about such things as the ability to breathe? Laugh? Eat? Enjoy a beautiful day? Appreciate a stranger’s smile? A infant’s giggle?
Just today I drove into work and think I only hit 2 lights–and for only a second or two, at that!
I said “thank you.”
My wife is perhaps the most grateful and appreciative person I know. I have truly never met anyone with as much presence of mind in this respect, and from her I have learned to be ever more mindful of being more like her in the art of appreciation. On those days when I come home all angry and spun up, she yanks me right on back down to earth.
You should be grateful you HAVE a job.
You should be grateful you GET a paycheck.
You. Should. Be. Grateful.
So, be pleased you’re a writer, perhaps even a damned good one, acknowledge that to yourself. But also thank yourself, your god, your whatever for that ability. Who knows how long your superpower will last. And thank all those around you who helped you get there. Thank what you need to thank for your ability to breathe and sit out on a deck and hear cicadas or crickets in the evening. To eat in peace. Sleep soundly.
Be thankful for beautiful days, and words, and color, and life.
But, wherever you direct it…just be thankful.