Wednesday, March 23, 2011
For the moment I'm low on overblown prose, so let me extend a simple word of thanks and be done with my day. Last week, my youngest handed me a package she found on our front step. I was in a bit of a cleaning frenzy at the time and didn't give it much thought, but when I tore into it later I was delighted to find not a voodoo doll with a camera on it shoulder, but a brand new book I already hold dear. The second edition of Al Tompkins' Aim for the Heart, to be exact - a tome I loan to anyone smart enough to notice it on my desk in the newsroom. Last year in Vegas, I sought and received counsel from the man behind Al's Morning Meeting. He and Les Rose were more than generous with their time and I walked away with a head full of advice and a belly full of beer. Nearly a year later, I haven't forgotten that encounter. But neither have I acted on their shared wisdom of two men who populate a plane of existence of which I too aspire. Now this: a bound reminder of what determination can do, a talisman suitable for shelving. But I didn't just toss Al's book aside. I opened it and there I found a dare. Both naked praise and blunt instruction, its message was written in a language this simple news shooter can grasp: "Write YOUR damn book."
Heh. I feel as if I already have. And while it takes more than stream of consciousness to craft something someone wants to buy, I KNOW it's within my ability. That hasn't always been the case, as just ten years ago I was telling my wife how I wanted to take an evening college course in creative writing. Well, true to form I never made it to class, choosing instead to hammer out my yammerings and post them on-line; first on industry message boards and then on that emerging platform known as the blogosphere. Aside from wooing my wife and siring pretty kids, it was the best unconscious decision I ever made. Okay, so at no time was I bathed in ethereal light. I just followed an old friend's advice on writing: Put Ass. In Chair. That I did, night after night, until my alluring wife threatened to torch my computer if I didn't come to bed and get some perspective. My postings leveled off and my marriage improved. Now, I come to you from the deepest reaches of the Lenslinger Institute, a cameraman in full. All I really need are six extra hours a day, a focus honed from years of perfecting my stare and perhaps a tonic for my thinning hair.
Yes, nearly six years into this silly site, I'm no closer to writing a book than I was back when I was deciding if Lenslinger should have two esses. I went with one of course and never looked back. Doing so has enhanced my life in more ways than you can imagine. No real dollar signs have followed, mind you, but if appreciative e-mail were the coin of the realm, I've be swimming in the bucks like Scrooge McDuck. As it is, I'm still a man without an empire, but the stars seem to be aligning as of late and I'm increasingly convinced that where ever the hell this obsession is taking me, I haven't yet reached the end. Whew! I was beginning to think I'd peaked back when I was fawning over some dude named Daughtry. Turns out, I'm still gathering steam, though I do reserve the right to become derailed every so often. You'll know it when it happens: my output wanes as I cloak myself in melancholy. Hey, I think Shakespeare said it best: Shit Happens. Now if you'll excuse me, the bride says it's bedtime.
Some orders you don't ignore.