Welcome to the April 2023 edition of...
What I'm Pondering Deeply With High Hopes And Much Uncertainty
I am currently reading a book called Hero On A Mission by Donald Miller, the same guy who wrote the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.
Hero On A Mission is about how to live a good story. Don noticed at some point that most stories follow a very basic formula: a main character wants something and has to overcome challenges to get it. As he learned more about the principles of story, he began applying them to his own life. This book is about that.
I have been writing a memoir off and on for the last five years or so, so thinking of my life as a story is a very familiar process.
I talked to Heather recently, a friend of a friend who has ghost-written several popular memoirs. She said in her opinion good memoirs follow the same rules as good fiction. It's about the journey of the main character, how they overcome internal and external obstacles and grow into the person who can accomplish the big things they so desperately want to accomplish.
I turned 43 last month (thank you, thank you, oh stop it, you're too kind).
For the last decade, I have been a stay-at-home dad. But our third and youngest child is on the verge of starting school soon, which has forced me to think long and hard about what the next stage of my life might look like. It may be that I need to get a regular job with a guaranteed paycheck, but as much as I am able I have decided on three things I want to spend my working time on for the next 7-ish years—
- Tell fantastic stories (more novels).
- Spread the idea of sharing weekly dinners with a handful of people (sounds so simple, but I believe this could change the world).
- Build a free, public, and shared digital universe for kids and grown-ups to play, create, and connect in (Minecraft meets World Of Warcraft meets A Bug's Life).
Just writing those intentions down does not at all guarantee I will pursue them. I don't even know how to pursue two of them!
But I have to ask myself (maybe I should put this up on my wall), will I live a story worth telling?
Do I want to do these ambitious things enough to overcome huge obstacles to make them happen and, in the process, grow into the future version of me who is able to make them happen?
Or will I settle for the easier and more predictable and less scary path?