Get What You Give

A short one today. It is summer and family will be arriving soon. Well, my mother to be precise. When I was too young to write, I narrated my stories to her and she typed them for me. I can still remember standing behind her reciting as quickly as her secretary’s fingers could fly. And once, when I was fifteen and I told her a teacher had suggested, “Bill, maybe you should make up the stories and let other people write them,” my mother replied immediately with pitch-perfect horror, “Oh, my God!” God bless the power of the parent when used for good. There is no greater service, perhaps, no greater gift, than simple attention. It reminds the other they exist and they are heard and that they matter. It can be tricky as a writer sometimes, since you work in private and the agents and editors and readers are at such a distance. The remedy? Give attention to others – your children, you lover, your friends, and yes, even perfect strangers.

I went to Los Angeles to visit a friend recently. The place gives me the heebeegeebees. I tried my hand at screenwriting once upon a time, but it wasn’t a good fit, nor was Hollywood. The town seemed desperate and hungry with everyone scrounging for the last morsel of pie. Whenever I get around that energy, I start feeling desperate and hungry too. So I said to myself, “Be generous.” The more generous you are, the more you remind yourself that there will always be enough. So I was, and it was a great visit.

Always give what you want to get.

Now it’s time to clean my bathroom.

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