|Photo by luftholen|
My friend wanted to start a blog and asked me what I wrote on mine.
I told her I wrote whatever I was inspired to write. I tried to be funny, if there was something funny to share. But often, I told her, it seemed like my posts were kind of like life: funny, until something profound sneaks up on you and makes you feel the weightiness of life, which then makes you sigh smiling because of the absurdity of life being weighty. More or less.
Sort of like Paulo Coelho's blog, I said. He writes one of the most followed blogs in the world, I added.
Sure people follow him. He's Paulo Coelho, she said. He wrote The Alchemist. Lots of stuff. Millions of people love him. You're just... you.
Now I do like this friend, don't get me wrong. Writers often suffer from all kinds of delusions and frequently need a swift kick in the ego. Which I was in the process of getting, just then, on the treadmill. In more ways than one.
It must have been the endorphins, though, because I ignored the dressing down and went right on defending my potential similarities to Paulo.
People say I'm insightful, I told her.
My mother. Some of my friends from high school. An old boss I had.
Who cares. Of course your mother thinks you're insightful. She raised you. It's like admitting to the world that she's insightful. That's not hard.
But. I think I am, though. That's why I write. I think I have something to say.
Everybody has something to say. Prove to me you have something insightful to say.
I ran faster, partly because she had started to run faster and partly because I felt the sensation of fight-or-flight coming over me. If I'm really that ordinary and uninsightful, what the hell was I doing clogging the servers of the world with my blog posts? What could I say now to prove it?
She took a swig from her water bottle and turned her head sideways to smile at me. I have never figured out how people on a treadmill can do that, by the way. When I turn my head sideways, I start running sideways off the belt.
So? she asked.
I finally came up with something I thought might be insightful. I said: Did you know that you can write out all the numbers from one to ninety-nine and never once use the letter "d"?
She tapped the little "up" arrow on the treadmill and it started to whir faster under her.
I didn't know it, she said. And I didn't need to know it. That just proves you spend too much time on the Internet, or that you should have written scripts for Seinfeld.
I ran and didn't say anything more. We finished our run. I went home and read Paulo Coelho's post that day which was entitled "How You Can Defeat Cynicism."
Since then, I have thought a lot about his advice of "choosing to be positive." He wrote that "when you make a choice to do something, you do everything that you can to make that thing come about." It might be the next insightful thing I say to my friend, all credit to Mr. Coelho of course. But at least I'm insightful enough to read him.
Have you read any of Paulo Coelho? How has his writing spoken to you? If you haven't, definitely don't miss him!