Whenever I speak about my book at a bookstore or library, I always encourage the members of my audience to begin writing. I tell them that anyone is capable of writing if they apply themselves, and I mean it. I think everyone should be working on a book. Regardless of a person’s level of skill or experience, everyone has a story, whether it be fiction or otherwise.
Too few people take the time to commit these stories to paper.
Following my appearance at the retirement community on Monday, I found myself engaged in a conversation with an 86-year old woman, a former chaplain who once wrote sermons and the occasional Op-Ed piece in her youth. She told me that she was thinking about writing a memoir and hoped to get around to it “someday.”
“But dear,” I said, calculating a means by which I might not offend. “You’re 86-years old. Do you really think you should be waiting?”
“What are you trying to say?” she asked. “Do you think I’m going to die tomorrow?”
“Well, you have a better chance of dying tomorrow than most people, so yeah. Maybe. I hope not, but you never know. For someone your age, shouldn’t you be thinking that there’s no time like the present?”
“I got plenty of years left on these bones, young man.”
“If you say so,” I said, conceding the fight but not at all happy about it.
I have at least two friends who I have been trying to convince to get writing without much success. Both are talented writers with stories to share, but so far, they haven’t scrawled even a single sentence that they are willing to share with me.
But if I can’t get an 86-year old woman to feel a sense of urgency, what chance do I have with a stubborn procrastinator and an under-confident slacker, both still in their thirties?
Not much, I’m afraid.