I want to write what we feel. For the millions. I want to talk about writing, analyze life, and be known as the best. I want you and you and you to read my blog. To buy my books. Post on my wall. I want to receive your questions, comments, and concerns. I want you to know that even though things seem okay on the surface—just plain words strung together so simply—there’s plenty beneath the surface that waits. Some of it is unsettling and confusing, ugly and dark. The kind of stuff your parents, teachers, and your good common sense have warned you about. But all of it is true and feeling it will get you closer to what you’ve always wanted and needed—just to be you.
I want to be successful by helping others succeed. What you see, hear, and experience as a result of reading my words should change you. Make you recognize some of what you’ve lost along the way. Help you get through the day. In my words, you will find the very best kind of friend. One that doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’re about to do. One that’s always here, a thought away, and if you ask me, I’ll judge you.
I never admitted to wanting these things before. It was selfish and pretentious to want success, fame, money, and glory. But now I see that all of the bells and whistles are simply byproducts of doing good, honest work—of doing what I love.
“Life is too short for bullshit.”
I like to credit that to my late Grandma Wieschowski. I’m not sure now if she ever actually said that to me, but I hear her saying it now.
She and I sit together sometimes, share a Milwaukee’s Best—or six—and dream. She shows me canaries and chickadees at the feeder outside her trailer window. She makes paczkis and speaks to me in Polish, and I understand. I show her pictures of my kids and my wife. She says my son has the same “dark, feisty eyes” as my uncles. That my daughter is a “blue-eyed, tow-headed księżniczka.” She says my wife is “a helluva lot better than those other ones.” And she likes her especially because of her art. “The birds,” she says. “The birds she paints are amazing.” And all of this makes me happy and sappy and warm and I thank God for this gift of imagination, or vision, or insanity that I have.
I show her another rejection letter. This one, a true defeat, from Oberlin College Press.
“If you want it bad enough, you’ll go after it,” she says. And that is all, and we sip our beer, and we watch the birds and everything else she says to me is in silence that I feel.
If we go through life lying to ourselves, denying our motives, intentions, and desires, then we stifle our creativity. We dampen our drive. We live a life of little white lies that build and build and build so that finally there are walls around us so tall and familiar that we don’t have the will to climb them or break through. Our failure is always someone else’s fault. Our lack of success is because of this or that or the other thing. We make excuse after excuse and reason our way to convincing ourselves that the life we live is the one we want and deserve. That we are happy and that we could never want for more.
This is bullshit, as Grandma would say.
The biggest thing we do to destroy our potential every day is to succumb to guilt. We are afraid to question because we are afraid to grow. If we truly wanted to improve our lives and make the spirit stronger, we would question everything—our career path, religion, marriage, choice of friends, and even our efforts at raising kids. When we question, we get closer to knowledge, strengthening the spirit, and Love.
God or magic, the Big Bang, or a very dynamic computer program has put us on this earth—“Believe whatever you want,” that’s what Grandma Wieschowski would say—but know this…you have the power to change the world. To do and have whatever you want and the biggest mistake you make is convincing yourself you’re satisfied. That it is wrong to admit that you want more. And that it is selfish to finally admit why.
I want to write what we feel. For the millions. To be the best. To be your friend and take your hand so that finally, I can pull you beneath the surface and help you see, a little at a time, your everything—the fears, hopes, repressed memories, and dead Grandmas. Your losses and loves. Your strengths and weaknesses.
I want you to go down.
To get uncomfortable.
Be on your hands and knees.
To see and feel where it all comes from, so that finally you remember what it’s like to be you—which is all we ever need.