“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by
the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So
throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the harbor. Catch the
trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I just came across these joyous yet cautionary words tonight as I pondering this post. They reminded me of how many things I long to write about — and how far I have to go to bring them to fruition. Years from now, one of the saddest things I can imagine is someone rifling through my papers and finding files and files of notes and half-completed projects. Who will finish them, if I don’t? Who will care about them if I don’t write passionately enough to make them matter to other people as much as they do to me?
Now, Twain may be talking about living a life of adventure and action — of visiting exotic ports of call. He may have been urging us to live the rough-and-tumble kind of life that he enjoyed. But for me, this quote calls to mind something Eudora Welty said: “All serious daring starts from within.”
So when I think of “Explore. Dream. Discover,” it’s my writing that springs to mind: the stories I want to tell, the characters I long to bring alive, the heartache and hope I yearn to share. Just how adventurous am I? How much am I willing to risk and reveal? How dangerous do I dare to be, how dangerous can I be?
There’s not much in my life to date that smacks of boldness and throwing caution to the winds. About the boldest thing I’ve done recently is to commit myself to writing this blog every day as a way of committing myself to putting my creative writing center stage. In the scheme of things, that seems a frail reed. But before we can catch the trade winds, we have to chase them. My chase has begun and I won’t stop until my sails are bright and billowing, full of words and wonder.