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Hello and hallelujah and yes 0

Dear Bradshaw,

I think I’ve finally discovered the secret to making my life magical — more magical than it already is anyway. Recently I’ve had a sort of awakening and let me tell you pal it feels fine, fantastic. The revelation is this: if I knew now I’d never publish anything significant, would I continue writing? I know we’ve discussed this before and my answer hasn’t changed = yes, absolutely, BUT (and here’s the “fine, fantastic” part) I wouldn’t waste my time and money sending stuff out, attending conferences, and dreaming of success. Instead, I’d just write at my leisure and be as light as air, as pure as water, and as simple as hello and hallelujah and yes. 

As I’ve said before, there are great writers who will never be published and mediocre ones who’ve written bestsellers, so I can’t count on a writing career nor do I care. I’ve found something I love to do, regardless of money and fame, and that to me is the secret of success. I’d rather write a great book that never gets published than a mediocre one that wins awards. Meanwhile, if I knew now that I’d publish a classic novel but not until I’m seventy-six years of age and then only because I sent out 782,651 queries and cover letters, and licked as many stamps, then I’m telling you, Shaw, yes, I’d send them out, and I’d lick those stamps. 

If only I could predict the future. (Ay, there’s the rub.) If only I knew not to waste my time buying and licking stamps — especially these frigging Italian stamps that don’t stick even when you lick them — then I’d be the master of my fate and captain of my soul.

The thing I hope more than anything else is to be able to look back on my life and smile, feeling it was all worth it. Because if I get to that point and have regrets, or if I wish I had done something different, or not done something at all, or if I find that my life is not worth remembering, jeez, how could I die? I wouldn’t! I’d refuse! But alas (here’s another rub), by then it’d be too late. So I want to figure out the secret now, so that I’ll be ready for what’s later, and be able to die as Anne Sexton wrote:

            at the last moment

            when death opens the back door

            you’ll put on your carpet slippers

            and stride out.

So in a sense I’m turning over a new leaf. Yessiree. I plan to put the book down more, to set the computer aside, and relax, to stare at the air, and think about things. I’m going to play with Jimi more, knowing, thinking, believing that life is for the living, and if I spend my time reading and writing instead of relaxing and thinking, I might miss out on the best stuff.

So from now on I’ll be breathing in and out more deliberately, playing the harmonica with more passion, drinking better wines and writing, always with the inevitable in perspective. After all, I’m just a vehicle of consciousness, a medium through which life bleeds existence, and though the vehicle will one day break down and die, consciousness forever continues.

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