Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A Columnist

I started reading a book. Nothing unusual, one might think, but for me it is as I have not been reading in a long time: Too much other stuff to do - like writing.

So I thought: Then at least read a book about writing! I had started others of this kind before, but they reminded me of school and off they went into the rear end of the book shelf. This one is different. Although On Writing Well is written by a writer who is a teacher as well. He writes about other writers who do everything the opposite way he does, and is acknowledging those approaches as valid as his own. And that made me think about what kind of writer I might be.

A lot of the things he suggests I am already doing, although not confidently enough. So I feel in good company while learning my skill. But that does not explain what type of writer I am. And then, Monday morning, sorting my little chores for the day, mind floating, it occurred to me that 'I am a columnist'.

Yes, I know, I even have written a book with my columns in it. That is not what I mean. I am a columnist in my lifestyle as well. I always visualised my life as a scene from a sci-fi adventure movie. There is a huge opening in the ground, bottomless, and for some reason hot and glowing... it seems that I have a vivid imagination, I probably should attempt writing a novel. However! My task in life is to get to the other side of this nothingness.

I have observed people building little bits of land right to the cliff edge where they are standing. They do that by learning things which seem sensible at the time. They look for the bit of the cliff edge that suits them best and by staying with the subject and specialising they are building a solid bridge to the other side.

That's not me!

I have been looking for the right part of the cliff several times and my choices turned out to be very crumbly. Then I found an interest and pursued it for a while, building a column in the middle of the vastness. And on I went building column by column, some of them are a bit short, others a bit high. Some I was made building, and they seem to be a bit crumbly, too. Meanwhile I was walking up and down that cliff not getting anywhere, still hoping to find the perfect spot for a bridge. The bridge builders already were far ahead.

And now, in the last phase of my life, I realise that some of the columns stand rather densely, they are starting to become part of a whole. I can jump from one to the next, and from where I am standing I even can see the solid  and the crumbly ones. I have options to choose from, while some bridge builders have hit crumbly ground and have to go back. Jumping is still a bigger risk than going steadily, but it is more fun, too!

So no wonder then, that I have become a columnist.

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