I can’t allow what I learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.

Elmore Leonard

The blog today is dedicated to my friend and brother Buddy.  Hard to find a better man.

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I have a childhood friend who took nine years to get his college degree.  He had just about every learning disability subsequently “known to man.”  After a successful career as a basketball coach, when in his 60’s he began acting without any study whatsoever.  He is currently in a sitcom that is in its second year of production.

I am dyslexic.  Reading never came easy to me.  Never had an English composition class.  Never considered myself a writer.  Now I write every day and my work is read from Malta to Palestine, from Finland to Ghana, Australia, India … and the list goes no.

How do you explain this?  Him?  Me?

Where does our ability to do what we never studied come from?  Simple and accurate answer: from life; that is, from a lived life.

He and I grew up together in a tough place and time, full of people, interesting people – living on the edge and invoking all the raw humanity and ingenuity to battle through each day, and being very funny about it all, and defiant and dismissive of institutions and the hierarchy that possessed those institutions and made “the rules.”

We lived among real people and the narrative all around us.  We drank it in.  We marinated in it.  We absorbed it.  In short we lived what we had, lived all of it – excluded none of it.  

You might say, “So?”

My response: we lived the narrative we saw, and were a part of.  We let nothing disrupt the sound and the rhythm of that narrative and that is now within us, shaped us, grew us, is an integral part of us.

Living as we did brought life to us and us to life.  Accepting our narrative made us more fully human, gave us range and insight, dwarfed any fear that might been a hurdle.  Accepting our narrative gave us access to creativity – a natural ability to write and to act.  Accepting our narrative gave us something to say on the stage and the page.

Never disrupt the narrative.  Good things come from it.  Listen, feel it and depth comes, insight too, imagination as well – a way of capturing truths that elude others.  Living your narrative destroys walls, opens wide your life, your range of feeling and experience, places you closer to He who made all of this.

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on the wings of misery and travail.

Theodore Dreiser