Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sometimes It Only Takes A Few Words

I would really love to write a novel that communicates some universal truth that transforms the reader in some fundamental way.  We all would, right?

But sometimes really important ideas are really simple.  They don't need an epic context to explain or substantiate them.  The most profound thing I've ever read was on a scrap of paper stuck to a friend's parents' fridge:
No one ever lay on his deathbed and wished he'd spent more time at the office.
I love this line.  It is both a literal fact and a meme.  Substitute "at the office" with "doing laundry" or "being afraid" or "holding a grudge" or "waiting" and soon you have a little test that you can apply to every little decision you make in a day.  Just today I decided making my daughter's birthday special - by spending it with her - was more important than cleaning the house for her party.

The one little problem with writing a brilliant pearl of wisdom, as opposed to a tome of it, is that it gets paraphrased all over tarnation and attribution rarely survives.


  1. Great post. I especially like the quote. Applying it to myself, I would insert 'waiting' at the end. We can't just wait for a book to get published, we need to begin the next one and continue forward. That's a good reminder for me. Thanks.

  2. This is profound and amazing and so simple it almost hurts. Absolutely words to live by.