Part II: Air and Beautiful Things
I knew the solution! I knew that I knew it. It came to me when I found a rumor or legend or falsity or truth about Socrates. I am sure many individuals have heard it but it was knew to me. For sake of your eyes, I will paraphrase, hopefully doing the story justice. Socrates was asked by a student what the secret to success was. So, Socrates and the man walked down to a river and waded out until they were up to their necks in water. Socrates then submerged the man and held him there until he turned blue. Then he let the man up. Socrates then asked him when he was under water, just before he broke the surface, what did he want most.
“Air,” the man said.
Socrates continued, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”
So, I had it. I needed it to be more than just a want to write. I needed it to be biological. I needed it to be in my genes. It had to be part of me. I had to eat to live. Sleep to live, Write to live. I finally had success nailed down and thus I had my writing nailed down. Easy!
I grew uninspired even more than ever. I wanted it more than air. To be published. To write the greatest thing I had ever written and damn anyone who didn’t think that my short story was anything short of incredible! I began to become bland where I hated myself even more. I actually bored myself (yes, it is possible!). A few days ago I was shuffling through Barnes and Noble and I decided to go through the writer’s reference section. I ran across titles that all had the secret to becoming a great writer and get published. They knew what Socrates didn’t somehow. They cracked the code! Yet, it was all just words on pages. Until I found a title that was quiet and yet spoke volumes. No get published quick or “write the perfect sentence now!”. No, it was simple: ‘If You Want To Write” by Brenda Ueland. I picked it up and I have been devouring it. It is such a beautiful book because it really is more than a “be a writer” books. It is really about looking at your creative side and then seeing how some of the greatest artists of all time were not the tortured money hungry individuals that so many of us are today. The type of creature I had become. I read it and learned of van Gogh’s impoverished lifestyle and yet how derangedly happy he was until he went insane. The beauty of the stars through his eyes must have been incredible. He painted what he saw and we are only fortunate enough to see a minutia of that. His paintings are worth millions now. However, when he was alive, his income generated by his paintings total was $109.
She started talking about being truthful. I looked at my own truth and I thought about the first thing I ever wrote as an adult. It was an episode of Smallville. It really was terrible. I laugh now. It was bizarro coming back from outer space and this conflict as he made Clark see the true side of himself. I did this for one simple reason. I was a geek. Still am, really. I wrote it for my best friend Ben, most of all. We had always loved that show and I had an idea. He encouraged me to write it because he wanted to read it. I wrote it and he read it and loved it. I decided to begin a few short stories and eventually began writing more and more screenplays. The first two screenplays I ever wrote were simply to entertain my best friend and my mom. They were really just caricatures of us but in the future and with subtle tweaks. All “what if” scenarios.
I smile now as I remember it. I think remembering our roots is a beautiful thing. This is my DE-evolution. I am going back to that idea that I am simply writing for my best friend. No more criticisms needed from critics in papers or individuals at publishing companies. I will write for my best friend and if people decide to publish it, they can. It is nice to know that my harshest critic is also my best friend.
In the end, I think Socrates was right. You do have to want “it” more than air. What I want more than air is to entertain my best friend and hopefully others will enjoy them as well. This is why this series of blogs are called the desiderata or “desired things”. I am going back to the beginning. Telling stories of my DE- evolution and all of these small, beautiful, desired things.