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  • There is nothing noble in being superior
    to your fellow man; true nobility is being
    superior to your former self.

    The most essential gift for a good writer
    is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.

    When you start to live outside yourself,
    it's all dangerous.

    Ernest Hemingway





    Friends:


    I offer these questions for reflection and provocation.
    There are no right or wrong answers. There are only
    your answers, for your Inner Writer, for your personal
    journey through the Soul Country...



    Why am I here, doing this? What’s the payoff?
    What if there is no payoff? Would I still write?
    What if there were no ‘loves”? Would I still write?
    What if there was no ‘audience”? Would I still write?
    What if only a few people read my work? Would I still write?
    What if there were no recommended stories? Would I still write?
    What if no one read my work? Would I still write?
    What if there were no rankings at all, such as “First,” or "Most," or “Best”? Would I still write?
    What if the only reward was the writing itself? Would I still write?
    What if the only reward was the privilege of being here? Would I still write?
    What if the only reward was you? Would I still write?

    Am I doing this because I have fire in my belly?
    Am I doing this to feed some torment in my soul to be seen and heard?
    Am I doing this because I believe in what I have to share?
    Am I doing this because it gives me great joy?
    Am I doing this because to not write would be worse than death?
    Am I doing this to be “popular” or to be authentic?
    Am I doing this because for me, writing is a form of celebration and play?
    Am I doing this because I see writing as a sacred act, as a gift to the Universe?
    Am I doing this to contribute to, and build, a community of resonant hearts, minds and souls?



    I’m not sharing these thoughts to win ‘loves’ or in hope you will join, or stay in my audience.

    If you ‘love’ my work, thank you. The 'loves' we share are like gifts, like nectar, like blessings.

    I am writing these thoughts because these are the questions I ask myself regularly here, to avoid the traps and seductions of seeking to be first, best, most loved, popular or any of that nonsense. As they used to write on the ancient maps, "There be dragons here."

    If I fall into those traps, I will not only bore you, but I will end up boring myself.

    I care about you too much, and respect you too much to give you less than my best, and then let go.

    As a writer and artist, I feel a joyful duty to keep pushing the boundaries of my craft, to live on the edge, to walk on the wild side, and would urge you to do the same.

    I am sharing these thoughts to invite you to join me in an ongoing adventure into ferocious authenticity, honesty and humility.

    I am inviting myself, and you, to grow and keep growing, risking, and leaving what is safe and comfortable and derivative, and not get trapped by our own success, or lack of it, or praise, or lack of it.



    Rilke writes:
    The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.

    Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.


    So, why are you here? Keep your answer in your heart, as a precious secret, and visit it often. It is the key to everything.


    Love,

    Alex






    (Photograph by Alex in an installation by DB Bailey at the Stanford Libraries, in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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