When I was in eighth grade we studied a little creative writing. I had no interest in writing at the time or maybe it was just that English (all) teachers rubbed me the wrong way. Whatever the reason, the result is that I didn’t retain much, which makes the one piece of advice I can recall all the more interesting. The gem of wisdom was: “Don’t write about yourself. Your life isn’t that interesting.”
It seemed a terrible thing to say, but looking back I understand what he meant. We all like to think our problems with the office printer or our struggles to save enough money to buy the newest iGadget are newsworthy events, but daily life is just that, daily. Just check out your Facebook newsfeed. I’m guessing it doesn’t read like excerpts from War and Peace. I know mine doesn’t. Then again, that’s ok. Life doesn’t have to be high drama, even if you want to be a writer. Emily Dickenson and Marcel Proust spent more time indoors than most prison inmates, but that didn’t stop them from penning masterpieces of world literature.
But back to the eighth grade, the reason my English teacher’s words stuck with me wasn’t because it’s sound writing advice. It stuck to me because it angered me, maybe even enraged me. Why can’t my life be that interesting? Someone’s life has to be that interesting. Maybe when other people watch a movie or read a book about some real life adventurer they simply think it’s cool and are happy to go about their business, but I always think “Why not me?” I felt that way when I was 13 and I feel that way now.
Not long ago I came up with a travel bucket list with 15 things on it. That doesn’t seem like an overwhelming number, but I’m dying. The doctors tell me I have only 40 years left, 70 years if I’m lucky. Even worse, unlike with video games, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to try again when I finish the first time, so I have to do it right the first time. With all this weighing on my mind I did the only reasonable thing I could think of: I bought a ticket to Nepal. That’s right, Mt. Everest here I come.
I want to thank all my readers for sticking with me after last fall’s Ironman. I know it’s been a little slow around here lately, but action is on the horizon. Just a reminder, it was thanks to you I was able to afford the Ironman and once again it’ll be thanks to support from my readers that this trip will be possible. If you were waiting for a good reason to donate this is it! The good news is that I can live for a day in Nepal for less than the cost of a trip to McDonalds – where I’m sure you don’t eat anyway.
It’s about a month until I leave, but I’ve got some other interesting plans in mind for the meantime. After all, proving my middle school teachers wrong is a full-time job. Now if I can just find a camera somewhere…
You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?” George Bernard Shaw