Friday has become “date” night at the Pope/Gurley household since I usually have the night off. Sometimes we opt for the usual things like renting a movie and ordering a pizza. Other times we get dressed up and go out for drinks and dinner. Lately, It’s been Gin/Rummy at the dinner table and I’ve been dominating. Thanks to playing this game everyday after school for years with my great grandmother, a ruthless opponent, I’m pretty damn good. I love card night for this reason. The odds in my favor and I’m confidant that I will take her down. So naturally Disappointment was my first reaction when Jessica suggested we go to a reading at a local downtown bookstore for our weekly date night. Really? I was about to make my pitch for another card night. I’ve been riding high from my last victory and was eager to continue my streak. But then she mentioned who it was and I was sold right away. Jane Fishman, local writer, gardener and friend among many other things, was reading from her new book. Sounds like a date to me. And who doesn’t love the smell of knowledge that only an old bookstore can produce.
The room was filled with interesting people milling about the rows of books and drinking red wine from those small plastic cups. I was surprised to see so many people on a Friday evening in January. No offence to Jane, I just know how Savannahians can be when it gets chilly. They stay home and order in. But tonight, they came. There was wine and coffee after all.
We got seats near the front and waited for Jane to get started. As I looked around, there were lots of people standing due to the limited chairs scattered about the store. And by people, I mean older ladies. This is when I hear the voice of my dead grandfather boom in my ears, “Stand up, son. That’s what gentlemen do.” So I did and moved to the back of the room where the other men were. At least now I get to stand next to the coffee urn.
Jane was introduced and the crowd welcomed her to the small podium with applause. Jane greeted the crowd and thanked them for coming out. On go her glasses as she begins to read to first chapter. Even with the room quiet, it’s hard to hear her as the books and bodies absorb the words. I strain to listen as I have yet to read the book, but love Jane’s writing style. Witty, smart, funny. Most of all it’s real and relatable. At least to me, anyway. I’m sure I’m not the only one given the crowds response when she finished the chapter.
What came next was my favorite part. The question and answer portion. You get all the usual ones; How long did it take you? What was your inspiration? blah blah blah and so on. The longest answer was to the question, “What is you writing process like?” What she said to sum it all up really stuck with me.
“You’ve just got to put something down and see where it goes.
Write something on the paper. Stop Thinking about it and do it”
It sounds straight forward enough, but it’s hard. This is what has hindered me for so long from doing so many things. I self edit in my head and never get to the actual action part of it, the “do”. I shut down the idea before I even have a chance to fail at it. The need for instant gratification is very strong. It is true that if I put in the time, the result will be well worth it. It is true that the 9 out of 10 times I may sit down to write a song and it is total crap.
You’ve got to write the nine bad to get to the one good. The failure can only make you more eager to succeed. And when it happens, the reward is bountiful, A feeling not only of accomplishment, but confidence as well.
What is the point of me telling you a story about a book reading and a “Just do it” speech, you ask?
Just what is the “do”?
I’m on the search for new and exciting addictions to add to my life.
I’ve been an addict all my life. Some I’d like to stop (mainly smoking). Some I’d like to do more of (reading, writing, eating).
So here’s to a new journey. Replacing some really bad habits/addictions with others.
Here I go…