Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Enjoy the Process

Hello Faithful Ghost Readers,
It's Wednesday again and I am posting so I think my weekly posting plan is clearly a success.  Granted, this is only the second week, but until I do not post next Wednesday, we cannot deny the effective organizational skills and commitment to schedule that I am currently demonstrating.  It has been one of those rather mellow yet busy weeks that seem to fill the hours with work and obligations, although without the nuances of being particularly eventful or exciting.  Class, hospital rotations, book editing, family time and a bit of Xbox filled the bulk of my week.  So clearly the only option left to me if I plan to make this post readable, is to make something up...
The other day, Hemingway and I were having a latte at the local Starbuck's, lamenting over the lack of European style cafes in the area when the subjects of blogging and writing came up.  Now naturally, Papa wasn't all that familiar with the term blogging, but, as I found out through the conversation, he was actually quite familiar with concept.  In fact, one could look at his correspondence with Esquire magazine to be just that, blogging without internet, ip's, facebooks or twitters.  Now I have read By-Line Ernest Hemingway: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades and find it quite interesting that the idea of blogging, although limited to the more famous in terms of popular consumption in Papa's time, is not a new idea by any stretch.  Anyone who reads the forementioned book will find that Hemingway was in fact a master of blogging and his articles and dispatches span a wide range of subjects, voice and character.
It was on our second cup of coffee, that Papa asked me how my writing was coming along.  Now as I am a great admirer of Mr. Hemingway, I found this to be a difficult question to answer.  After a moment of indecision, I went with, "I'm enjoying myself."
Papa smiled, regarding me with eyes that showed the depth of experience.  "That would be the best answer if there wasn't something so palpable behind the words."
I smiled back.  "True.  I'll never stop writing and I enjoy it immensely, but I wouldn't be honest if I said that I thought by now I would have been successful at it." 
"Ah, success.  People have always had difficulty judging its measure," Papa said, turning his attention to his coffee.
I, of course, was intrigued.  "What do you mean," I asked.
Papa thought for a moment, taking a sip of the tepid liquid that remained in his cup.  "Take you for instance.  You say that you thought by now you would have been a successful writer and I have to assume that by successful you mean rich and famous."
"No, not necessarily," I answered a little hastily.
"Alright, then answer a few questions for me.  Have you been able to finish your novels?"
"Have you ever started one you wanted to finish and found yourself unable?"
"Interesting," Papa mused.  "Does anyone ever read your novels?"
"Yeah, some.  Not really all that many, but a thousand or so."
"Do they seem to enjoy them?"
"Do you enjoy writing them?"
"Very much."
"So why then, would you think yourself not yet successful?"  Papa leaned forward, his gaze intensifying.  "Success, happiness, contentment.  They all must start within.  And whatever endeavor you chose in this life, you have to enjoy the process.  The moment when a goal is reached, no matter how great, is always fleeting.  If you can't enjoy the process of getting there, you'll always be disappointed."
His words struck me, but took a while to seep in.  On the surface the advice seemed rather familiar and even cliche.  Carpe Diem, life is what happens when your making other plans, live like your dying...  But then I realized how deep those words really were.  "Enjoy the process."
A bit later, I said my goodbyes to Hemingway and went home, realizing that I had been given a great lesson, but not quite sure how to use it.  Was it simply a matter of perception?  Attitude?  Was it meant to indicate that if you're not enjoying the process, you should reevaluate the value of your endeavors?
I don't have the complete answer and I haven't had another imaginary coffee shop conversation in order to get clarification, but I can't help but think how amazing my life would be, if as I look forward to my goals and dreams, I also truly enjoyed the processes of trying to reach them.

1 comment:

  1. Ironic to me that papa Hemingway is so close to your heart- he was your adat's favorite author . I wish that I could have predicted the future and have saved all of those Hemingway books he had on those shelves in the garage,,,good blog,,,