Friday, May 31, 2002

I read Brennen’s entry for yesterday, and I wanted to act out the digital equivalent of shaking him by the shoulders while saying, “Snap out of it, man!” But we all know how effective that is in online communications.

I was angry about his self-defeating tone, and his sense of complete emptiness and worthlessness.

Okay, so I feel a need to respond. Brennen, here’s my response:

You’re wrong.

It is your place to say something. You’re a human being, and that in itself gives you the right to question tradition and improve life. More than that, you’re a smart human being. Now don’t pull that self-effacing act on me. You’re smart. Your opinions have a grounding in reason and truth. Do you know everything? No. But neither did Descartes. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer your opinion.

You didn’t squander your youth. Heck, you still are a youth. Whence comes this misconception that we all must have our destiny well in hand by the age of twenty-one? How do you know that your childhood wasn’t exactly the training you needed for whatever you’re going to be? How do you know that you won’t find your calling five, ten, twenty years from now?

Hayao Miyazaki was in his forties when he began making the films that made him the “Walt Disney of Japan.” J.R.R. Tolkien was in his sixties when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Heck, Jesus Christ didn’t begin his ministry until he was thirty years old.

Don’t sell yourself short. What are your dreams? Seriously. I’m betting you still want to be a writer. Okay. Set up an hour every day — perhaps after supper in the evening — when you’ll sit down and try to write something, if you’re not already. It doesn’t have to be the next Great Fantasy Novel. It can be practice. But write, just to practice and warm up those muscles and get in the groove. And you’ll be one step closer to being a real, honest-to-goodness author.

What’s stopping you?

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