FOUNTAIN OF YOU
Friday, September 3, 2021
When I started writing this column 18 years ago, and for more than 15 of those years, I would walk in the morning – then write, and then publish what I’d written.
That worked if I got up very early and didn’t have early appointments – and even then, it was difficult to edit/polish and publish with consistency in terms of time-of-day and writing quality.
Two things caused me to alter that practice/regimen.
First, a comment from Seth Godin when we had an email conversation around getting his permission to republish one of his pieces: he said we wrote nearly every day and posted his blog from ‘what was in the basket.’ I liked that notion. That began a halfway measure, drafting something the day/evening before and then launching it the following morning after my walk while I wrote the next day’s column.
The second tweak came three years ago when I was in Vancouver with unexpected time on my hands for a day and evening. I wrote some fragments, or what might be better labelled column-starter bits, and saved those. So began a ‘what is in the basket’ process for me.
Most days, I publish what was on my mind the day before or the day before that – but reaching for the basket is a great process to ensure I have a column every day. At this moment, there are 11 partly written columns in my basket – some are a pair of sentences, some are hundreds of words. Some never see daylight; some get cobbled together.
Like this column today; a combination of what you’ve just read and this unconnected bit that follows:
I’ve learned, to quote the great late Nora Ephron, “Everything is copy.”
Because it is.
Every day I find myself making notes – a few words or a prompt to myself by text message, otherwise forgotten. Moments are fresh, sometimes magical.
After explaining it to someone, I wrote down post-tension, chuckling at multiple thought streams from that phrase.
Another time recently, I was thinking of referring to a ‘fountain of youth,’ but I mistyped my note to myself; it became ‘fountain of you,’ which intrigued me.
I saved it and used it at today’s title.
What’s in your basket?
Is there a fountain of you lurking somewhere?
That fountain needs willingness to be free, create, risk ridicule or feeling foolish – let words spill on pages the way painters apply paint to their canvas. Or on a wall.