Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer, Writing]

[cancer|writing] Wisdom is where you find it

I’ve been visiting with a dear friend these past few days. We’ve been talking a lot about both writing and life, each of those topics primarily through the lens of my own journeys.

A point that I keep coming back to these past few years is my belief that wisdom is where you find it. It’s been my experience that almost everything I needed to know was available to me almost all of the time. I just didn’t know that until I was ready to hear what the world had been whispering in my ears all along, and see what had been set before me the whole time.

The longest struggle for the wisdom of the mountain top sages is the one that takes place in our own chairs.

In writing: When I was the newest of newbies, and didn’t know standard manuscript format from a hole in the ground, the Slug Tribe had to show me. The information was a revelation to me. Yet it had been available to me all along, in Writer’s Market and Writer’s Digest books, at convention panels and workshops, through talking with more experienced writers. Until I was ready and listening, I did not hear.

That is of course the most facile of examples, but in its simplicity, the example is very clear.

In life: My convictions about kindness and opportunity [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] were always there. “Do as you would be done by” is an old, old rubric both in and out of the Bible, and that’s a slightly fancier way of saying, “Be nice.” Likewise, there are endless proverbs, sayings and stories about seizing opportunity. Yet I had to reach a certain point in my mortality before I could clearly articulate this to myself or anyone else.

The world is wise, and welcomes our attention. For each of us, the process is that of learning how to open ourselves to that wisdom and pay the proper attention.

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