To The Finish, Please (And Through The Park)

Often during my writing, I approach my laptop with a preset topic in mind. I keep a list topics that I update several times a week. I usually review the list of topics and make a decision on which topic to cover during that particular sitting. I then strikethrough the topic once I have written about it. After some editing, I decide whether to post the essay straight to my blog or save it for another time. I then go and resume my normal daily routine which includes finding things to write about and adding them to my previously mentioned list of topics. It’s not exactly a vicious circle but it does sometimes glare its teeth.
It’s pretty cool to actually look at the list and see that I have several topics from which to choose. These topics usually come from my warped mind doing what it does. More than one person I know has heard me say “I should write about that”. I have sent many emails to myself just so that I don’t forget to add it to my list of topics. Once I sit down and choose a topic and start writing, it truly becomes like taking a ride. I sit down and start typing away. I feel myself begin to pick up speed and momentum. I feel like I could climb any mountain and sail across the stormy sea (Please don’t sue me, Mick Jones. The Foreigner concert at Darien Lake is still stuck in my head). In addition to this wild ride, there is the fact that I am going in a much different direction than I planned when I first started. This is usually the point when I realize that I am not the One doing the driving. It is often after the writing is all done and I am reviewing the piece that I realize that I am not just in the passenger seat of the vehicle.  I am not being carried in some rough rickshaw ride. I am being chauffeured to my destination. It is truly a great ride. Just when I think I know the route like the back of my hand, I am shown a new way to get to from point A to point B. I even sometimes find out that neither of these points were quite where I thought they were. All of this happens while never experiencing a feeling of being lost. Even as I write this piece, I realize that I initially approached this with a different topic in mind. Trust me, please. I am not turning senile at 45. I am just along for the literary ride.
I am not sure why, other than foolish pride, that I feel that my writing comes entirely from me. I am so reminded that it is quite to the contrary. These reminders come either when I am searching for a topic or when I find myself on one of the above mentioned wild rides. I have a friend, Kevin Cummings, whose writing I have admired. Kevin has proven to be a great mentor since I began writing. I asked Kevin once how he handles dry spells in writing where the ideas and inspiration don’t seem to be coming. Kevin advised me to use a list of topics like the one I mentioned earlier in this writing. He also said something to me that really struck home: “You are the conduit of the talent. You are NOT the Source of the talent”. It was a sorely needed dose of perspective. Now, I can make another strikethrough in my topic list. Thanks, Kevin.

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