Writing for Benjamins (including Franklin)
File under GREEN, as in juniper
A number of years ago my mother sent me a simple frame containing an 8 x 10 print of a Benjamin Franklin quote:
“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.”
I’ve hung this worthy ditty alternately in my home offices and my work spaces, more a reminder than an inspiration. My writing places have fluctuated between newsrooms and guest rooms, work cubicles and basements, frequently because what I do for a paycheck switches back and forth in a similar manner.
I often need to remind myself that this is okay.
My day job sometimes doesn’t involve any more inspired writing than polite emails; the up-side being more curiosity to explore the world of words in my off hours. Other times, the need to pull exceptional words out of hats—and heads—takes all I have to give during any one day, thus I am more inclined to spend my free time watching movies, reading novels or talking my way through scripts, plots and conversations rather than create written versions.
I like to think Franklin understood the need to have active and quiet periods of creativity, not unlike a plant needing the dormancy it receives during winter. I find I, too, like the seasonal pacing that comes from actually living la vida loca and creating memories, balanced by calmer periods of reflection.
Perhaps this is why I am intimidated by the idea of a travel blog, such as I am nevertheless attempting in preparation for this coming summer.
I don’t know if simultaneously traveling and writing will be all that easy for me. As I look about my own front yard, I see not only spent daffodils, storing up energy in their exhausted leaves for next year’s blooms before disappearing, but also evergreens capable of presenting their colors day-in and day-out, providing a steady year-round display.
Tulip or holly? Dogwood or pine? Which is more me?
It remains to be seen whether my summer travels along Mediterranean coastlines and the history-steeped cities that punctuate them will live up to Franklin’s idea of doing things worth the writing, or whether blogging about them will be worth the reading.
I rather hope it becomes not an either/or proposition but more a both/and.
Next time: are there really degrees of separation?