My baby brother is exactly ten years younger than me. And he’s scary smart. Not an engineer or one who knows a wealth of useless facts. No, he’s philosophically smart. I love talking with him because we can have conversations that I can’t have with anyone else.
Last night, we had an interesting discussion on the concept of ideas. And by discussion, I mean I did a lot of listening.
He was saying that it bothers him that people try so hard to get credit for their ideas. He went on to say that people who write seem to be obsessed with recognition.
I thought about that for a while and about how happy I was when I started my three pages-three months challenge last year. Two people read my book, and I want to re-write it because I think I can tell my character’s story better, but every time I get to that discussion about selling, I just don’t care.
And I got quite an earful from a couple of people about that. Like it would be any less of an accomplishment if it wasn’t published. And that kind of killed my joy. Maybe I have no writing talent at all. Really. But the simple truth is if I don’t do it, I get lost. I’m not one of those people who struggles to write. I love everything about it. I love teaching it. I love talking about it. I love re-writing. I love editing. I even love grammar. I’m not an author. I’m a writer.
That was why I was so selective with who read my first draft. Not because I was scared, but because the people who I wanted to read it understand what it meant to me. It was about that moment of my life. And what I was meant to be doing.
It would just be nice if the world wasn’t so obsessed with owning things. Especially ideas. Our whole damn country is based off of giving power to people who own the most, so it’s too late.
And in the true spirit of “owning” things: that’s MY brother.
As I make decisions right now, I’m thinking about all of my ideas. All of the options and possibilities. Everything that has changed. Everything that I want to remain (I can count those things on one hand).
I was re-writing my resume. Yes, again. It just gets longer and longer. And I realized where the changes came from. I reevaluate a lot. I do it almost every day. It’s probably the nature of teaching. You have to or no one would learn anything.
I’m doing it now. With a lot of things. Not just work. And damn. It hurts. I think I’m in the healthiest position ever to do it, but it still hurts. The cleansing process is brutal.
I’m not afraid to admit that I cry. I get angry. I curse. I change my diet. I change my patterns. I do everything possible to remove myself from what was and ignore what is to make myself see what will be.
But oh, dear God, I love the ideas. I love every single idea that pops into my head–the exciting ones, the stupid ones, the scary ones. I love with every essence of my being.
I love the energy that comes from sharing ideas–especially with young people. I love when they take what I say, and they spin it. They reinvent us both when they do this.
As a joke, I recorded about three minutes of my class today. Every single moment of it made me smile when I watched the playback. I can hear my excitement as we talk about what we can print and not print. Who should say what. Who should do what. And I laugh an awful lot. Not hysterical, mocking laughter, but genuine happiness.
You’re beaming, she said when I arrived at school today.
I just laughed. It wasn’t about anything to share. It was about an idea. And idea that’s not mine. A collective idea. A stolen idea. And the smile was the radiation of the love from that idea.
Maybe ideas aren’t ours to keep. Or ours to claim. But they’re ours to radiate.