Some people see things that are and ask, Why?
Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?
Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.
How has your summer been? To me, Labor Day carries this teeter-totter feeling of being between seasons.
It's one last summer dip in the lake (thinking happily of my daughter at the Lake of the Ozarks) and one step forward into an autumn's fresh beginning (thinking expectantly of my son changing careers). Lately my commute has been clogged with an influx of school traffic since classes begin in August these days, but I fondly recall my childhood when the schoolbus didn't pull up to its stop until September.
There's a little wishfulness in the air.
It is four months before I retire.
I have begun to gather up the fruitage of my career. I want to pause, recognize and honor the successes and the mistakes, recall and be thankful for the people that made a difference. After 22 years I know a lot of people at work and greet familiar faces every day in the halls and on the elevator. But I wonder: did I do enough? Could I have paid more attention? Been more kind?
I find that my thoughts are less about grand achievement and more about individuals.
I've been thinking a lot about the difference between "transition" and "transformation." Transition as movement and transformation as change. I can simply move into ending my job, the clock will ultimately take care of that at the end of the year. Or I can lay the groundwork and make decisions for transformative change, which I don't need to wait for but have been doing slowly all year. On the outside this begins with identifying myself as a writer (versus a corporate title or association), but on the inside, to make it stick, comes mentally moving writing from hobby to vocation or new walk of life.
What I am realizing is that I bring all of my past to this change - skills, acumen, perspective, relationships -- and that these are not left behind but are being applied in new ways, helping to shape the transformation.
This must be true for you too. You are simultaneously laying a groundwork even while you are contributing now.
Steps I’m taking to explore writing a book
Mastermind professional creative class: Just turned the corner into the last month of this virtual class - the time is flying by! The topics this past week were on making money and marketing. It's made me recall marketing guru Seth Godin's comment about staking out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market to sustain me, the smallest market I can adequately serve. So, how do I apply this idea? The genre I'm writing -- historical novels -- is huge. I will be doubling-down on figuring out who my ideal audience is in the weeks ahead. By the way, Seth Godin does a great daily short blog.
Books I'm reading: Last week I told you that I've been reading a wonderful biography, Van Gogh's Ear, by Bernadette Murphy. I'm thick in the book now and -- guess what? -- Johanna Van Gogh (I'm hoping to be the protagonist for my book) has been making an appearance! The biographer calls her "Jo." Love this nickname! And I found a new source to check out of letters between Jo and Theo, Vincent's brother. I knew that Theo had fallen in love with Jo quickly. Here's a snippet from her diary from a visit Theo made to her in Amsterdam:
"I was pleased he was coming. I pictured myself talking to him about literature
and art. I gave him a warm welcome -- and then suddenly he started to declare
his love for me. If it happened in a novel it would sound implausible -- but it
actually happened; after only three encounters, he wants to spend his whole
life with me... It is quite inconceivable... but, I could not say 'Yes' to something
like that, could I?"
Jo, Jo, little did you know.
This blog has become a little contemplative so I'll end with another quote from comedian George Carlin to lighten up:
Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.
If you read this when the email hits your inbox, it's 117 days, 17 hours, 32 minutes before I'm retire.
But who's counting?