Emerson’s advice

When I get down on my chances of ever doing something worthwhile, I look to a quote that I have plastered at my desk. Someone at my old job gave it to me just before I left upon learning of my new position as a writer.

Every Day is No Ordinary Day

I had an almost intolerable awareness that every morning began with infinite promise. Any book may be read, any idea thought, any action taken.

Anything that has ever been possible to human beings is possible to most of us every time the clock says: six in the morning.

On a day no different from the one now breaking, Shakespeare sat down to begin Hamlet.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I get a lot from this quote. I’m a person who has grown up casting a wary eye at any praise I’m given and fostering a suspicion for any talents I possess. I know that the bottom could fall out of my experience at any time – that I could be dropped and forced to search elsewhere for enlightenment. I can’t luck out all the time, I figure.

Then I gaze across these words. They’re easy to miss; posted just to the left of my computer screen, the copied print-out is slightly obscured by a pen holder and just enough out of reach to warrant an easy forgetfulness. But they’re there, and they remind me of the boundless nature of words; of how every day starts anew, with a clean white space and nothing written, and it’s up to me to create something.

I often take charge of a vast amount of uncreative work. Sometimes I struggle through simple rewordings, or I become bogged down in simple human resources postings. Other days, I get a chance to come up with hundreds of ideas – ideas that are formed out of nowhere, that come rushing at me faster than I can spill them onto the paper. It’s these days that I remember what I do – what it is to be creative.

So when I find myself bored, or filled with a loss of purpose or self-aggrandizing doubt, I think of the promise – the infinite promise – that comes each day. Every morning is new. Each word is poised to be written. My personal Hamlet is waiting in the wings.

And with that thought, it’s easy to get to work.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 28th, 2006