After graduation, after a divorce, after an election
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Sy Safransky is editor and founder of The Sun.
The days are getting shorter and so am I. It’s a fact. I used to be six feet tall. Last month, at my doctor’s office, the nurse checked my height and told me I was five feet ten and a half inches. I just looked at her.
Note to self: don’t worry about your readers. Don’t worry about your reputation as a man with big ideas. You don’t feel big today.
History laughs as the wind lifts her skirts. It’s too late for modesty now.
Why is there such a vast self-help industry in this country? Why do all these selves need help? They have been deprived of something by our psychological culture. They have been deprived of the sense that there is something else in life, some purpose that has come with them into the world.
I woke up this morning on the third planet from the sun. In the twenty-first century. In the United States of America. Outside, the sky was still dark, but at the flip of a switch the room was flooded with light. Amazing!
I need to cut more pages from my upcoming book, so I’m trying to keep in mind William Faulkner’s advice to writers: “You must kill all your darlings.” No more procrastinating over whether a particular Notebook entry deserves a berth or needs to walk the plank.
It took twice as long as I thought it would, and it’s only half as good as I’d hoped, but the first draft of my book is finished. This morning our cat Zooey walked across my desk and vomited on the manuscript. My first bad review.
I didn’t feel like writing today, but here I am, lacing up my writing shoes. Here I am, lumbering around the track. That’s all it takes, the coach says. Just keep putting one word in front of the other.
I used to worship the face in the mirror. He was the only god around. Year after year I made my sacrifice. Year after year he looked at me and frowned.
Nature, too, is an editor. Isn’t evolution a force that shapes all living things? It’s no surprise, then, that the sentences we struggle to create must climb out of the muck, dragging their tails behind them; stand up; stand tall.
Sure I work hard. So do many other people. I try to remember something my friend Robert once said: “All those doctors who complain that they worked so hard in medical school — compared to who? Someone who digs ditches all day? Someone who works two shifts at McDonald’s?”
What if we extended as much kindness and generosity to everyone as we do to our own children and grandchildren? It’s shameful that I still make a distinction between the small number of people who matter the most to me and the nearly 7 billion other humans on the planet.