Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Courage of Conviction

Day one of being temporarily laid off has passed fairly quickly. I wrote in my last post about the situation and my plans for dealing with it. I spent today catching up on the housework and downloading photos to be processed for the wedding we have on "film".

One bonus of being off is being able to have dinner ready for Bethany when she gets off work. Cooking is nearly on a level with writing for me. I've spent the past forty minutes preparing my ingredients before stirring them together in a pan and adding a splash of white wine.

Last weekend we watched Julie & Julia and the movie opens with Meryl Streep as Julia Child hosting her television show. She's about to attempt to flip an omelet and tells the viewers that to flip anything, you have to have the courage of your convictions. If you don't, you'll fail.

I took a lot away from that opening scene. The courage of your convictions...that speaks to a lot of different aspects of life, doesn't it? As a writer, first and foremost I have to have the guts to honestly think of myself as a writer. Then I have to find the courage to reach down inside, open up a vein and use my blood for ink as I put my soul into every word.

As a cook, I have to have the courage to take strange culinary chances without fear of what's going to happen. Toss in a little garlic, Italian seasoning, perhaps a bit of lemon zest...it doesn't have to make sense going in, just in the end result.

Playing guitar requires a certain amount of fearlessness, of being willing to attempt the hard chord progressions and tricky bar chords. The world of music is wide open and full of room to explore and experiment if only one has the courage to take that leap into the unknown.

Having the courage of your convictions is the first big step in creating anything, be it a novel, a song or something as simple as dinner. The world we live in began with an act of creation. Creating something is a bit like touching the divine, even so far removed from perfection as we humans are. To take a blank sheet of paper and turn it into poetry...mixing a dozen separate elements into something satisfying and tasty...bringing something new into the world isn't easy. But as I've heard all my life, easy isn't worth doing anyway.

My Dad once told me, so long ago that I don't even remember what we were talking about, that if I knew where I stood then I wouldn't have to watch where I stepped. What he said comes to mind as I think about having the courage of my convictions. I didn't realize then how true his words were of life, but then again I rarely do when he speaks them. As time passes and I digest the ideas, what once seemed complex on the surface tends to be based on a foundation of deeply simple wisdom.

At it's most basic, what we create is a reflection of who we are. If we know where we stand and then have the courage of our convictions to go forward with it, then there's no limit to where the dreams inside us all will take us.

1 comment:

  1. wow, i'm sorry to hear about your job! Ack! I'll call ya later