Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In one’s mind, the end product always appears monumental; the work of art one always knew they had in them. But as always, the process is messier than that.

I remember there was a moment while studying in college, where I was also working, writing a short story collection, and editing the college’s literary magazine, that I realized my only time for reflection was in the 20 minutes on the bus from Roscoe to Fullerton. Woe is me, I thought, for being too busy to let my mind wander. But really, I was a bit nostalgic about my younger years where my only preoccupation was thinking of what I’ll do once out of the suburbs.

That lasted very shortly because I’ve come around to favor the latter option. Being busy trumps indulging in a musing, which in short, is why I made the decision, however disinclined, to write in this space. No, people do not need to be kept at the screen any longer, but I can’t stomach wanting to publish my writing; I just have to do it in whatever medium is available to me at the moment.

In its own way, the same goes for why I flew to Seattle last weekend. After returning from Honduras, I was faced with idle time and accordingly, a slight feeling of uselessness so I decided to organize a fundraiser with my fellow ex-volunteers. I flew to meet up with the group in Seattle and on Saturday, we collectively ran 91.2 miles and raised $10,000 for the orphanage I spent my time at last year.

You would think the highlight of the weekend would be celebrating how much money we raised or the moment I crossed the finish line but really the highlight was dancing to Prince Royce in the kitchen with my ex-volunteers as we made banana pancakes, rhubarb compote and coffee.

And that’s because as Shonda Rhimes says in her Dartmouth acceptance speech that I loved every word of, the end product never ends up as you imagined. But that is just as important, more admirable, more impressive than achieving the ideal. In the end, it’s all about the work. The aim is usually just a superficial expectation that springs up from the reverie and more often than not, springs up from too much time on social media (which always seems to conceal hard work).

As Beryl Markham says in West With the Night, "Work and hope. But never hope more than you work."

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