Monday 8 December 2014

Taking Inspiration from the Failure of Others

"Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little." ~Gore Vidal

My day job is in catering and I recently met a new client whom I shall refer to as Sheila—seems reasonable, as that's what her parents call her—and was immediately impressed by her stylish apparel.

Coming from someone who wears socks with sandals, even after Labour Day, it's a testament to her style that I even noticed. But she is hard to miss: a petite, energetic pixie of a woman who exudes confidence and competence from beneath an array of dazzling fabrics and accessories. Her clothes are always bold, but manage to—dare I say it?—skirt impropriety to always be tasteful and flattering.

One day, she looked so fabulous and wore a blouse so flattering that it even asked me if I'd been working out and called my eyes 'dreamy.'  I just had to remark on it.

She told me that she blogged about her clothing and gave me the link to her blog called Epherma. I checked it out and was startled to find she has blogged the intricate details of her attire almost every day, since 2008! There are detailed pictures of each accessory in every ensemble, accompanied by vivid exposition about the origin of each piece and her decision making process. It is quite simply, remarkable.

I told her how impressed I was and she mentioned that her husband also blogs. He is a music aficionado and reviews whole albums at Creative Mealstrom. He has blogged 100's of albums spanning a dozen genres and offers his own in depth analysis and observation on every track. And he has done this, religiously, since June of 2009.


And why do they do this? For fame? For profit? Due to a mental disorder? Nope. For fun.

I find this terrifying.

These type of people have set the fun-bar so high that the working-your-guts-out-bar isn't even visible from where I stand. I yearn to be a successful writer, but I've never been as dedicated to anything in my life as much as these two are to their hobbies.

What if everyone did this much work for fun. What if all the writers I know started just writing and having fun and writing more and having more fun?

I get this same fear whenever I read Stephen King, Martin Cruz Smith or Arthur Golden. I feel like Tweety bird going toe to toe with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a game of 21. Or Evander Holyfield's other ear challenging Mike Tyson to a rematch.

Sometimes I read an absolutely horrifically written book and flip to the author bio assuming that this is his first and only novel, lovingly proofread and transcribed by his demented grandmother only to find that, actually, he is widely adored, has been translated into 27 languages, is the author of over 300 works, one of which is now a major motion picture starring Marlon Brando who returned from the dead specifically for this role. Also, he has inspired a new religion, a line of perfume and an action figure.

That's when I become fearless and the urge to write is reignited.

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