January 27, 2013
I heard about a guy who did the same thing day in and day out for weeks, months, years. He left his home, walked to a steep hill nearby and trudged to the top. When he reached the summit, he cried out, “I’m here. I’m here.” Each day he heard nothing but the wind in the trees, the birds chirping. No answer came from anyone, no acknowledgement that he even existed. After a moment at the crest of the peak, he turned and walked back the way he came until he entered his house and retired for the night. The next day he repeated the pattern.
One day the neighbors found his body on his front porch where he had dropped dead on his way home from the hill.
His epitaph read: “Here lies an unknown author, a faithful blogger, a builder of web traffic.”
I told my wife this story a few days ago when she asked how my day was.
It’s not really that bleak, except sometimes.
I remember a scene from one of Woody Allen’s early movies where his girlfriend asked him why he loved to watch basketball on TV.
“It’s physical,” he said.
I know what he meant. In the digital universe, a writer can work for months and years and have nothing physical to show for his efforts. No blossoming garden he put in himself in the backyard, no new paint job on a fixer-upper ’57 Chevy. No oil on canvass. Nada but an electronic file and words whistled in the wind.
It’s okay. It’s the nature of the beast. The wolf is at the door. He must be fed.
If you let go of the rock, does it roll down the hill and flatten your house?
I was just wondering.
(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author. )