They asked how fast I could put together a story they could read and I laughed because I know things and weaving a tale is one of those things I can do, sometimes more effectively than others.
So when they challenged me to put together an original piece I said to step back and sat down to tip tap upon the keys to see what I could come up with.
Figured a common tale about the magic of the blue moon might be a good place to start and threw a few thoughts down upon the page.
She is passionate, she is feisty, she is opinionated, she is beautiful and she is mine.
I can’t tell you how I found her or explain how my heart aches when she is not in my arms. All I know is that she fills an empty spot inside my soul that no one has else has ever touched.
The editor told me it was mundane and far too common and I asked them if they had recently suffered a head injury or if they had been abused as a child.
“Josh, your bedside manner is among the worst I have ever experienced. Do you think insulting me is going to help you?”
I laughed and said it is a good thing I am not a doctor and asked them to explain what was wrong with ordinary because the mundane isn’t a bad thing.
“Ok, show me the next part and do yourself a favor and be kinder in how you respond to my response.
Baby, you know that when you are so far away from me I get a terrible thirst. It is an itch that I can’t scratch. You are my air. When my ship is at sea you are the North star that I use to guide my way home.
Baby, when you aren’t close to me the world just ain’t right. I walk through the rain looking for you. The water pours down my face and obscures my view. I run blindly searching for you but you aren’t there.
The pain of being far away is hard.
You are special. No one knows what we share. No one understands the place we occupy. It is not that goofy high school puppy love. It is real. It is alive and it is ours.
This time I was the one who was insulted by peals of laughter and a question of whether I had ever had a mature relationship.
“It is junk. You’re not a romance novel writer. Scrap it all and start over”
They mistook my silence for acceptance and were surprised by my response.
“You are going to be disappointed you passed and I am not going to waste time convincing you to acquiesce.That is a nine letter for reluctant acceptance. That is what you should have done, reluctantly accepted and asked for a few changes. But you fucked up.”
“Josh, you are welcome to leave now and to not call me again.”
“You’re welcome to live with regret and disappointment and you will.”
The Mistakes You Didn’t Make
I once sat in a job interview and told the person who would eventually hire me they needed to know a few things about me.
- I am not afraid to make mistakes.
- I push limits.
- I cannot be micromanaged.
- I need people to get out of my way and to be there when I ask for help.
We went back and forth about the role and the typical questions and answers and I went to the four bullet points.
“I am not afraid to ask for help but I like to figure out how things work so that I can get stuff done without having to rely on others.
I am a team player but I hate roadblocks and sometimes lone wolf it. I fight being constrained and chain of command is fluid to me. I make things happen. Sometimes that causes trouble for me, but I have learned to be cautious about what mountains I am willing to die upon.”
They said they liked and appreciated my approach and I said I sometimes look back at past experiences and think about the mistakes I didn’t make.
“What does that mean?”
“What challenges/projects did I avoid taking on because it was easier to go along and get along than to try to swim upstream.”
“How did that work for you?”
“I have won more than I lost and learned quite a bit. Not everyone can deal with the storm, but I am pretty good at dancing in the rain.”
A week or two after Trump was elected someone asked me what I thought and I said I didn’t think he would be effective and that his damage would be something we could repair.
“There will be problems, but it won’t be anything we can’t overcome.”
I was wrong about the damage and the trouble he would cause. It was unimaginably worse than I expected. He has been a disaster and the work to repair it is far greater than I would have thought.
It is not beyond repair nor are things irreparably broken but doing so in a short time requires the sort of unity and cooperation we haven’t seen in quite a long time here.
The timeline for beginning the repair is fluid too because it won’t happen while he is in office so if he wins reelection this will likely postpone it for quite some time.
Even if he loses it will take a chunk of time and maybe a full generation or more.
That sounds overwhelming and heartbreaking doesn’t it?
But before we let the weight of it crush us let’s pause for a moment. We didn’t establish what was being fixed during that generation of time we referred to.
There are no real metrics there, no specifics to work with and without those it is impossible to do anything.
It is midnight on Halloween 2020 and while I could break things down further and into bite size chunks I won’t because I don’t feel like it.
This was a writing exercise and so I’ll default to one of the greatest lessons I have learned in life.
I may know things, but I know nothing. 🙂