A Beautiful Mistake
It is easy to think that you and your work are one in the same. It is easy to say, “I just got published!” Or, “I need to get published.” But it isn’t you who is published; it is your work. You are not squeezed between the covers of a book; it is your work. And it is not you that is rejected or accepted; it is your work. And your work isn’t you. Your work is an idea you chose to share with the rest of world. Ideas come to us all the time. They come and they come and they come. Good ones, bad ones; ugly ones and pretty ones. Sometimes we like these ideas so much we write them down and show them to other people. Sometimes these ideas are terrifying. Sometimes we think, “What if he doesn’t really love me?” Or we might have the idea, “Because this book was rejected, it is clear I will never sell anything.”
It should be clear to us that our ideas aren’t us because we get rid of these ideas all the time. We dispose of them like orange rinds. We get an idea for a sentence and write this idea on the page. We decide we don’t like that idea and we delete it. The words are gone and yet we feel no pain at all. That idea wasn’t us.
Yet we all want to know what we are. We want to know if we are a writer. We want to know if we are pretty or ugly, smart or dumb, brilliant or average. We aren’t any of these things either. These are all just ideas too. And we can’t be what we’re afraid of, because we’re only afraid of ideas. “What if I don’t get published?” “What if I never get married?” “What if the plane crashes?” These are just ideas, and they are frightening when we think them, but they aren’t us.
All we are is what we love. We are not our books or poems; we are not our jobs or our marriages. We are not even our arms or our legs or our hair. We are only what we love. There is not one difference between you and what you love; they are two words for the very same thing.
But sometimes you make a beautiful mistake. Sometimes you write an idea down and this idea is the very best kind of writing there is. You write a thought of love. And when you read it back you can be forgiven if for a moment you believe that thought is you.
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