A Song You Know
The irony is not lost on me that I am writing what amounts to an advice column of sorts. Ironic, because I have spent my life steadfastly ignoring other people’s advice. And I was rather shameless about it. I was fond of saying, “My best advice is to never follow any.” Now I end every interview by asking the writer’s advice, and it is often my favorite part of the conversation. Is it because I have become eager for advice? No, in truth, I have not. But I love to hear people talk about what they have learned, and what they feel they know for sure. It is rare that what one person has learned is exactly what I need to learn at the moment they share it, but I always find it instructive to hear what someone sounds like when they have made peace with something.
It really doesn’t matter what one has made peace with, peace always looks and sounds remarkably similar. Atoms, I am told, have two states of being: agitated or at rest. When agitated, the electrons can vary widely in their distance from the nucleus; but when at rest, there is but one position. Humans are much the same way. Our upset can take many forms. This is why the characters in our stories are so often upset, for in their misery lies their personality. Our peacefulness, however, is like a song we were all born knowing.
In the circus of my life I can forget it this song, but upon hearing it in another I am reminded of it in myself. I cannot be reminded of it often enough. For years I thought advice amounted to criticism—you’re doing it all wrong; do it this way and your life will improve. All anyone was actually ever trying to tell me was, “Find Peace. This is how I did it.”