Diary of a Novel: June 5

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Life changes so fast. Nothing stays the same. As a Buddhist, this is one of the keys to happiness. We must contemplate impermanence. That person you’re angry at right now? Ask yourself where you’ll both be in 300 years. Dust. You’ll both be dust. Sooner than that, even. What’s the point of your anger now?

I like Buddhism because it doesn’t attempt to explain why things are impermanent. That’s not really the important question and you’re probably not going to find happiness trying to figure it out. All the answers I’ve heard are so stupid. “It was/wasn’t meant to be.” “It’s part of god’s plan.” Nah, I don’t buy it.

Things are impermanent. What do we do in the face of that inevitability? Try to live in the full knowledge of it every moment. Every day. How do you interact with the people in your life knowing that it’s all impermanent? You love them hard. You make sure they know how important they are to the world. You say all the things you need to say now.

Some days things will be too bad to write and that’s okay. It’ll be there waiting for you when you’re ready to come back. Writing is impermanent, too. When I’m drafting a novel, I can’t wait to be done. When I finish, I miss it.

Maybe some of the things you write will survive after you’re gone. Maybe not. In 300 years, it’ll probably still be dust. If you can go on writing even in the face of that, then you’ve earned the right to really call yourself a writer.

Why are you doing it, then? Not for money. You have about the same chances of being struck by lightning as you do of making a living solely as a writer. Not for fame. Same chances. You don’t know. It brings you joy sometimes. It’s a place of solace. Sometimes the ‘why’ is overrated.

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Comments

  1. Great points. Always important to live each day to the fullest. And now I’m thinking I might have my novel engraved onto brass plates for longevity.

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