This is among the best advice I’ve ever gotten in my life. It came from my friend James Lisenbee, an interesting, intricate man who loved to laugh and loved being alive.
James said the quote above to me in a conversation that came out of the blue probably eight or more years ago. I was working at a newspaper and he called me out the blue so we talked a bit. One of the tings, we were talking about was a new business he was thinking of starting involving fantasy sports and he thought he might have some writing gigs for me, but as we talked I said it wasn’t really what I wanted to do.
“Well, what is it you want to do?” he asked, in his way that said if I didn’t give him the truth here, he’d be talking me into writing some stuff for his fledgling business. I was a reporter at the time working for the Connecticut Post.
So I told him I wanted to write novels. I wanted to write books. I wanted to create worlds and people them with the kinds of people we knew and people we never knew. I wanted readers to see possibilities in the world and recognize what’s good about it and what we could do better. (I know, preachy as hell, sorry.)
But what was cool was James just listened and he said, “You should go do that.”
He meant it. See James lived his life like that and didn’t see why other people didn’t also. He thought up an idea for a business or saw something he wanted to try and he learned as much about it as he possibly could. He was very good at research. He started and ran several business and was a parachute instructor and could make gourmet pizza on a grill. He died June 21, 2019 in a plane accident in Hawaii.
He was a father and he loved his kid. He loved being alive and he loved what he did and the possibilities and the chance to achieve and create something new down the road. I’m sorry he’s gone because it would be interesting to see what he would be doing, today or in coming years.
Anyway, James changed my life with that one sentence. It didn’t take hold immediately, I’m not that sharp, but his encouragement stayed with me and eventually I realized he was right. I got this one life and writing is what I want to do with it. So, I’m doing that here, and on my other website and in my books. It’s not easy, not lucrative, yet, but I’m making progress.
So that’s what I want to say to you all, if you have a passion you want to follow, “you should do that.” Now, before you go do it, though, like James, go do the research first. If you need to get some skills, go get the skills and training you need. Do the work, too. Immerse yourself in it. See what path you want to follow as you build your business and life.
Well, that’s my little “rah, rah” thing for today and maybe the year. But there it is. Hope it helps you.
Keep writing, keep running.