We listen and read the words of a guru ‘Never miss an opportunity’, and continue to seek opportunity. Ten years later we are still looking, although, on reflection, there are plenty of missed opportunities lurking in the cupboard. Realising we are ‘opportunity blind’ is a difficult realisation, Of course, we are blind in many respects; for years I could not see my moronic self. On reflection, the years wasted were not learning curves; they are cause for regret. Not for the mean and selfish way I lived or the cruelty inflicted upon the deserving. No, in truth I regret the decades lost which cannot be recovered, and this causes controllable discord. It is a lesson learned, a metaphorical ‘cyanide strength unhappiness pill’ swallowed.
Metaphorical ‘cyanide strength unhappiness pill’? ‘Metaphor’ is an expression, ‘cyanide’ a deadly poison, ‘strength’ an indication of force, and ‘unhappiness cure’ needs no explanation. Understanding the malady taking the strong medicine of fact, killed the disease. I suppose a depression cure would save many a suicide or would it? The feeling of despair may be eliminated, the circumstances of the misery would not change. For example; I knew a man who cried every day; he embarrassed me. I told him about a situation which caused a fair degree of mental anguish, and he cried. Do you know? I was happy I’d made him cry. He aggravated me, I wanted to hurt him, and the sad story was more compelling than a punch. When he died, it rained for two days, and I knew the water drops on my jacket were his tears.
I missed the opportunity to say ‘John, you’re an alcoholic wreck. You’re a failure and mentally ill, and you are driving me down into the hell of insanity.’ No, I lied to him and told him he’d be alright and I wasted time talking to him. My patience gave his life purpose, in his desperation, he interpreted my time as friendship. When I told him the story (a factual one) about two schoolboys torturing an animal, and as I watched them I also cried; he seemed to resonate with the memory so deeply he could not get it out of his mind. John asked me about the scene a few times and then the penny dropped. I cried for the animal and my fear of two bullies, I was desperate to save it and helpless to do so. When I realised John enjoyed the story, I knew he was an evil man, and his tears were a complex imbalance of remorse and guilt. I do not know what he’d done, he associated something with my childhood reminiscence. I knew it must be ten out of ten serious.
We never miss opportunities, because they are only realised in hindsight. I say to you ‘Here is a chance to make a few quid’ and you will rightfully be sceptical. Ten years later in a chance encounter with Freddy X, you are told ‘Ian gave me an opportunity to invest in his publishing business, and I’ve made a fortune’ You think of the missed opportunity. Wether missed or taken; we do not realise it until it is passed. The lesson is your instinct was right at the time; you made the right choice for yourself. It is possible you would have concern for the investment because in the first year the business suffered many setbacks. Freddy’s attitude was ‘Lets stay with it for one more year, and if it fails, that’s the way of life’ Opportunities are made not taken.
Thirteen years ago I began to write each day, not only journal keeping, short stories and novellas. Many are paraphrases of experiences. Some stories are reflections of my idea of ‘Selfness’ and individualism. Six or seven years ago I was asked to write an introduction to a new business venture for a press release. The payment of a bottle of wine and a sweet feeling in my emotion zone compensated for four hours working on a 100-word synopsis. Over the years, words have made me a comfortable living; there is no formula or method, the situation simply evolved. The numerous articles, letters, and essays written this week have varied from a statement of circumstance to a sales pitch. Everyone different and not one complaint. Fifteen hours work for a weeks wage and most of the assignments completed before my day begins.
You see, it is not grammar or qualification which makes the writer. It is the practice and endeavor, and one other ingredient called variation. Stephen King was a reporter and covered any subject, in his book about writing the maestro acknowledges this as the foundation for his work. Hemingway published many short stories, and his subjects vary from Spanish waiter to African game hunter. Variation is one possible way of learning the art of writing. The two genii were not given opportunities; they wrote their cheques. The cheque books were varied and colourful and entertaining.
It is impossible to read every book written, although some people claim they are three books a week worms. A friend of mine owns a secondhand bookshop. He told me about a woman who exchanges four books every week. For the last few years, he has placed a raffle ticket between random pages of every book she chooses. When the ‘read’ books are returned he checks the books and not once has the ticket been removed. My bookshop friend tells me this is not unusual for people to pretend to be avid readers. He feels the frauds attain a false sense of academic attainment from the deception. Although he congratulates them on their achievement, knowing he is himself a fraud. David will never miss the opportunity to sell a book. Life is full of Crying John’s and Book Worm Frauds; we only have to see them as opportunities to write a story.
Does the work have to make sense? If it is a freelance article, it has to be gin clear and claret smooth. Whenever I write for A.N Other, I’ll research the relevant information and then free-flow a thousand words. It is printed, read and edited, rewritten, printed read and edited. Proof copy emailed to the client and amendments made, life does not get any easier. My favourite writer is the late A.A. Gill; a God among God’s. I wonder if he worked in a similar way, honing and sharpening the essay, until perfect. His work sparkled because of its vibrant expression, read his ‘Miss Universe’ story it is majestic. His work was not 100 thousand word drivel; he conjured 3000 words into an eternal memory. Take the opportunity to read his articles and essays.
I know for sure; the ability to weave words into pleasure is as difficult as cooking a boiling hen into a poussin. I truly believe the capacity to use words makes or breaks people, business, and even life’s happiness. If the essay is understood and the sentiment realised by the reader, the objective is attained. What the problem is; writing is like life, we do not see our mistakes until it is too late.