Monday, January 10, 2011

Do As I Do, Not As I Say

As a young person I knew with absolute certainty that I did not want to be a leader or example of any kind. While many asserted I was naturally suited to this lofty status, utility as a cautionary tale was as close as I cared to get. My downward slide into debauchery and moral oblivion was well under way before I was even out of my teens; having evolved from confused kid to sneering nihilist.

By the time I reached my majority I’d achieved a level of decadence and decay that would have taken a lesser man years of dedication. At that point I began living life in reverse, becoming more innocent, not less, with the passage of time. My war with Manic Depression necessitated a complete reconstruction of my character, while sobriety welcomed me into a spiritual world that brought with it an entirely different way of being human. In retrospect it all seems like a long process of education, rehabilitation, and evolution.

A year ago I stopped smoking cigarettes, an act which told me a lot about myself.

In the past I had style without content, my actions could not withstand scrutiny. Today the opposite is true, content is all, style is important only to the extent that it helps to reveal content. I have become so suspicious of lies that I examine all talk with dispassionate care, especially when it is overly smooth and facile. If you want to know what a man believes, don’t listen to what he says; watch what he does. If you want to lead, lead by example. Make your life a poem that will be read by others when they are weak, sad, and frightened – looking for inspiration and guidance.

Leave footprints in the snow that can be easily followed; their silence is eloquent.

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2 comments:

  1. ..."content is all, style is important only to the extent that it helps to reveal content." Hard lessons learned of art-- from stratocaster to Serious Fiction. Nicely put, there, McHarg

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  2. Thanks PBH - as they say - if you tell the truth you can never go wrong.

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