Letting Go

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I may be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need"
- attributed to Lao Tzu


At the beginning of the year I set lofty goals. One thousand words a day. One blog post a week. One story submission per month. Quite poetic in its symmetry of a quantity of one task over each time span.

At the time I believed I could accomplish the goals. It would be hard and require strict discipline and focus and time management and the lack of any other factors that might possibly cause the slightest distraction. These were unrealistic goals.

"Know thyself."
- ancient Greek aphorism


The problem with committing to something unrealistic is it can be difficult to disengage, particularly if others are involved. If I commit to help a friend move a piano I will surely live up to that promise, no matter how much my back may regret it later.

When my commitments are internal, that is when I am the only one affected by the doing or not doing, it is still hard for me to renege. The completion of that task is linked to my image of myself, my self esteem, my character. If I don't complete the task I am a failure.

The end result of this cycle is obvious. Frustration. Low self-esteem. Sadness. Depression. Procrastination. Repeat.

When the commitment involves others, a promised favor, a work assignment, a relationship, letting go can be very difficult and painful. If the promise is only to myself, no matter how public I have made it, the only person who will be affected is me.

Folly of Youth

I've been caught in a lie. In the Fiction section of this site, I make claims about my first published work. Recently, someone reminded me these claims are false.

Senior year in High School, some mumble-mumble years ago, a very good friend ascended to editor of the school newspaper. He urged me to write something, anything! Three quarters of the paper was devoted to sports coverage. He wanted to shake things up. I obliged.

I went digging in the archives and found the clippings, faded to a nice beige. My work was derivative (in one story I even state 'This is based on the work of Kurt Vonnegut') and attempts to shock the reader without being particularly shocking. There's thinly veiled animosity toward authority (e.g. the Principal and Vice Principals). And it is clear the editor was giving a pass to his friend by not editing. I was also surprised.

The stories have a wry tone. There is a subtle dry humor. The themes are shot through with the absurd.

I recognize this writer from so long ago. It's strange. I like that aspects of my style, I might even say writing voice, haven't changed much. But it does make me wonder ...

I'm not going to over analyze it. And I'm going to reprint one article I wrote, mostly to thank that person of reminding me when I really first got published. It's below the break (it's rather long) and the subject is appropriate to the season. Hope you enjoy reading it.

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