« My Last Word on Doherty | Main | There ought to be a word... »

Words to Live By: On Writing

From an interview with Babylon 5's J. Michael Straczynski:

Write. Write tenaciously. Write neverendingly. Write fearlessly. Never give up your dreams. Never compromise your soul for a buck. And be willing to take risks. Don't listen to the people who will tell you, with every desire to be helpful, that you should play it safe and leave such foolish dreams to others, because they don't want to see you get hurt. Hitting age 50 and realizing that you've never pursued your dreams is one of the great horrors of the human condition. And totally inexcusable. Not following your passions is the greatest sin you can commit, it means surrendering the fire of your ambitions to the fears of other people. It's psychological treason.

I hear people talk about how they don't like where they live, they don't like the work they do. I tell them, "Then move. Then quit and look for something you DO like." They always have a thousand reasons for remaining frozen, a list of yeah-buts that they recite year in and year out until the day they realize they're out of time. If there's anything more terrifying than that moment of realization, the heart-stopping recognition of a life unlived, prospects unpursued and passions unrealized, I can't think of it.

As the poet said, "we are born astride the grave," here for the barest flicker, a quick glimpse of light, and then the darkness comes. How awful, how monumentally unfair, to waste that brief moment of brilliant hope and endless possibilities doing something you don't like, when it can be changed by simply deciding to change it.

Follow your passions. Everything else is window-dressing and coffin-cloth.

"A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age." Meat Loaf


Well said!

Me too

Unfortunately, one almost unavoidable byproduct of happy life in a nuclear family is that some dreams will be deferred, and even denied. Life, for grownups, often is sacrifice. Just make sure what you're sacrificing for is worth what you're giving up.

Oh, and don't feel obliged to write (or do anything else "productive") just because someone else says you should. If chasing butterflies in the back yard makes you happier, go do that. Happiness isn't so cheap or common that we should deny ourselves the opportunity to enjoy it out of an artificial sense of duty.