What does it really mean to be a writer?

 

A couple of days ago, I had a realization about my life and the choices I’m making when it comes to deciding on a career path and ultimately what kind of goals I want to accomplish while I’m down here on planet earth. I was thinking really hard about one of my bucket list goals; to write a book. Lately I have been really struggling with gathering that last bit of motivation to just sit down and start putting my ideas on the page. For the past year or so, I‘ve been keeping a journal and I try my best to take a few minutes every couple of days to reflect on life and keep track of what’s been happening in my world. Right now I feel like I am on the verge of doing something groundbreaking. At the root of it are a few very simple questions that don’t always seem that simple when you try to come up with the answers. Do I have what it takes? How do I get started? What’s holding me back?

My favorite writer at the moment is Haruki Murakami, a japanese author whose books have been translated into 50 languages and are read by people all over the world. His protagonists are often themselves writers of some sort who struggle existentially to understand the true nature of the forces at play in their worlds. What strikes me most about his work is his ability to capture some of the most mundane things in life and somehow keep his readers captivated through it all. In a recent release entitled WIND / PINBALL: Two Novels, Murakami shares in the introduction the story of how he became a novelist. In a nutshell, what he described was a strangely pivotal moment when the sound of a baseball cracking against a bat triggered the realization that he could write a book if he wanted to. As strange as that sounds, a little inspiration was all it took for him to get started. What he was missing all along was the belief in himself to become what he wished he could be.

I often sit down and write a few pages, I get my creative juices flowing a little bit here and there but once I go back and reread, I end up becoming overly critical of my work and I decide not to share it with anyone. Sometimes it’s just too personal, maybe I’m not ready to be that vulnerable to an audience. I desperately want people to understand that when I write, I am channeling what I believe to be a position of strength. There is a me in my head and there is a ME that exists on the page. What I have discovered is that the ME in black and white, the ME in Times New Roman, size 12 font, that ME is a powerful optimist capable of transforming the world that he lives in. The groundbreaking, turning point realization that I alluded to earlier is this; If I want to succeed then I have to muster the confidence to believe in myself, to believe that the only thing holding me back is my own refusal to acknowledge that the level of my power as a creative thinker is defined by my own standard of measurement. Sometimes I am just too afraid to accept the responsibility for deciding the path of my own destiny. Its easier to deflect the responsibility and blame someone else than to stand up and do for myself what has to be done. Here’s the short of it; if I don’t believe I can do it, then I will never go anywhere. I will not write a bestselling book until I believe in my heart of hearts that I can do it. I need to stop waiting around for someone else to do for me what I need to do for myself. I am the only thing holding ME back. I need to start believing in myself.

Below is the link to Murakami’s essay entitled, “The Moment I became a Novelist”

Haruki Murakami: The Moment I Became a Novelist

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I’m Stuggling! Is this just life?

Little by little this world is starting to make sense to me.
This is the second time I’ve lived in Finland.
I’m struggling. This is life. It’s been three and a half months.
Each day I press onward in this struggle to discover myself.

What am I even doing here?
What am I doing… in general?

They used to ask me,
“You’re from New York! Why on earth would you come to Finland, of all places?”
I never really knew how to answer.
Over and over, the same question.
I came up with something to say but I still didn’t really understand.
How could they be so indifferent about a place that for me was full of new discoveries?
How on earth could I be so far off the mark?

I looked around at all the people in my new little world.
They were busy living their lives.
Coming and going from this place and that.
Consumed with their own affairs.

What am I waiting for?
My whole life is standing before me.
I’m sitting here plotting and scheming how I want things to play out.
Convinced that somehow I’ve got to force things to go my way.
Maybe it’s not so complicated as that.

What if I’m already on the right track?
What if my life is already playing out exactly the way it’s supposed to?

I’ve been granted an amazing opportunity here.
The pressure of having to succeed according to somebody else’s standard is lifted.
I get the chance to ask myself, “What do I really want?”

I want to embrace the emergence of my true self.
I want to learn how to just take it easy and live my life on my own terms.
A big part of that is sharing instead of hiding, and feeling instead of running away.

Who’s going to tell me how to live my life?
This is my life and I chose to let go of the struggle.
I’m giving it away!

It’s not going to be easy but that’s life.
That’s why it matters so much.

I hope you are blessed today beyond belief.
Take a look around you.
You are no accident.
You are a beautiful ray of sunshine.
Shine bright, we need you now more than ever!

Love Portal: It is the fountain of youth.

If your day did not find a way to test your patience then tell me this, was it too easy for you? We grow from struggle and adversity. We become what we are meant to be when we go the road less traveled. Not because we are determined to be renegades but because there is no other way for us. We are the reckless few with undying optimism, invincible hope, unrivaled faith in that which goes beyond unseen, it goes deeper than unfathomable, it is the essence of devotion to a life that cures this slowly killing disease that some say will engulf us all. No man escapes it unless he believes it is not real. I choose not to live in fear of my debts, nor to acknowledge the imminence of my death. Each evening I will reflect and recharge, for when morning comes I will reset and rebuild to receive the power that love provides to us all on this journey. Let us seek to construct a love portal with every space that we inhabit, so that our existence is a beacon of hope where life truly lives in this moment, in this time, right here, right now.

Four little sisters and an even smaller brother sat across from me on the train this morning. With missing teeth, they stared and wondered. The oldest cradled a baby doll while the little boy made funny faces. One sister slapped at his cheek when she saw that his googly eyes had caught my wandering gaze. She wanted the Silverman’s attention. Their energy was at bay on this train, so obedient and polite for such a pack of young years. Mommy and Daddy passed a cell phone game back and forth while their littlest girl sat in the stroller loosely clasping a pink pacifier in her mouth. Then Mexican cowboys entered the train car and sang a short song for a stop or two but no one gave them even a dollar. They seemed not to be phased at all. Their joyful music had brought the little ones to bob their heads to the tune and this was surely payment enough. As they smiled, one cowboy spoke to the children in Spanish. Their eyes clung to his face in complete confusion and simultaneous curiosity. Their silent silver cowboy had taken a back seat to the Mexican singing band. We all shared that subway car, for a short while. Open eyes and wheels turning.

Speak Life!

I’m convinced that the most important factor in being successful is determination.
You can’t give up. Even when you want to.
You can’t let your doubt talk you out of being an adventurer.
There are little voices inside your head that try to feed you discouragement.
They try to convince you that your dream is not going to happen.
And if you start listening to them, they will soon be right.
You will begin to agree with them if you sit around long enough
to let their daggers cut you to pieces.
Put on your armor and be self reliant.
You will create success by pushing through when its difficult,
when its cold, and it seems like a “Bad idea.”

Speak Life!
Be mindful when you speak discouragement upon anyone’s life.
Your words have so much power.
If you speak life into your circumstances, then you will flourish.
You will be amazed by the potential that you create for yourself.
“Today I will spread Joy, Curiosity, Fun, Thought, & Love.”
I will be a lamp of Love upon this city.
I will help thaw this ice box.

They need Me & They need You
We are all meaningful.
Don’t lose that.
Everyone Matters.
Everyone is Beautiful!
Don’t Judge, Just Love.

Keep Holding on!

Please keep holding on, when you feel like letting go.
You might feel alone today but friends will be here soon.
Just keep your heart beating. Keep yourself open to love.
The worst thing in the world would be to close yourself off to love,
right before it has the opportunity to find you. I know its hard.
I know it seems like there is no way out, but please oh please don’t give up.

Today was a really good day. I painted my face in the front of the public. They stopped to watch mesmerized as if I was revealing an extremely private secret. I wonder if its such a good idea to give away the mystery like that. Not everyone will get the chance to see behind the make-up. Some will have stumbled accidentally upon this silver painted man once it was already fully constructed. It seems like the audience filters through almost every 15 minutes, probably even more often than that. A new little crowd of ten to twenty fans. Sometimes its amazing to see nearly fifty people surrounding me in such a small corridor of a subway station. Its funny to think about, considering a perfect stranger as a fan. After all this fan probably didn’t even know I existed before they discovered me. When it comes down to it, they are the ones funding me. I wonder if they know that this is how I pay my bills. Sharing with them all of my joy as they share with me a kind blessing. Today someone gave me a $20 tip. I had no idea who it was. They did it quietly, in a way it could have been secretly, so as not to be noticed by anyone. There was certainly no show of their gift. They just wanted to bless me. And I like to believe its because I blessed them too. Some people can’t afford that much and I understand. I never expect anyone to share more than a dollar, I guess when I think about it, I don’t expect anything from anyone. I’d like to say one of my expectations is for a little decent respect, but in all honesty, I’ve come to expect a small dose of disrespect on daily basis. Not everyone is going to understand why I do this, I’m still struggling to make sense of it myself. It’s a big leap of faith, and even though success on monetary level might make things seem easier, its really much more than that. Money isn’t the most valuable thing someone can share with you. Its important not to get overwhelmed by the need to make money. You might get so consumed by making dollars that you forget about making friends. Its important to see the human giving not the amount being given. I’ve learned that ignoring a penny can lose you a dollar. As a performer you have to give yourself wholeheartedly to everyone, especially the children. Its not their fault, they don’t understand money yet. And what a beautiful thing that is. Moms and Dads love to watch their children overflowing with joy, making joy available to the rest of us even when we get blinded to its amazing power. And I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people I know because I get to experience that joy from the front row every day I go out performing.

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March 20th: The First Day of Spring

March 20th, 2015

Just when you feel like giving up,
When you wanted to give up,
But you didn’t
That’s when something miraculous can happen.

Yesterday I’d lost the motivation to be The Silver Cowboy.
I knew I needed a day off. My plan was to walk, more like wander.
Searching for something that didn’t exist
If it did exist, I might not even know I’d found it even if I had.
My feet just kept moving.
Aimlessly, or with such an unknown aim.
As if I was a blindfolded cowboy
Standing at the crossroads
Wishing he had the guts to draw his revolvers
And fire it in any direction
Just to see if anyone noticed him.
Maybe then he’d know if anyone cared that he was losing his edge,
And maybe someone would talk him out of it.

But alas, I have no gun.
All I have is a heart.
And lately it’s been heavy and awfully lonely.
A lone ranger as some might see it.
I’d love to be seen.
Not as a man who paints himself silver.
But as a man who has the guts to say,
I am a thinker
I am a talker
I am a writer
And I want to be known.

Its not a matter of fame
I just want to meet some inspiring people who can understand that I’m not crazy
And even If I am, maybe they are willing to be crazy with me
Crazy enough to deny this world the opportunity of crush us all like bugs under its boot heel.

I think I used to be afraid of you.
Yeah You!
The one reading this.
Maybe I still am scared
But I’m not going to live in fear any longer.
I am a writer and I need to be read.
I need to scribble words on the train
and beg people to wonder what I’m writing about.
So here I am.
Not in the flesh but in the ink, in the print.
Begging you for a chance to tell my story.
After all, I’m just a lonely storyteller and I have a story to tell.
I will share with you my strength,
I will share with you my pain, my doubt, my hopes and dreams.
Life is about struggle and hustle.
Today I will paint my face in the subway station.
Let’s see who wants to watch.