ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Commit. Begin. Now.

What will you do? (Image by virtualDavis)

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

~ W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951

Murray’s passage has occasionally been maligned because he erroneously attributed the following couplet to Goethe.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

Okay, let's do this!

It strikes me as a bit petty to toil in criticism in the face of useful motivation and beauty. Besides, boldness does pack plenty of power under the hood. And — whoever we credit with the seed that grew into this passage — the most important message is shoehorned into the last three words underpinning all commitment. Begin it now. What will you do?

Faust: Begin it Now

And, by the way, if you’re feeling persnickety (or just curious) here’s Goethe on the matter of dallying, boldness, commitment and action.

Enough words have been exchanged;
Now at last let me see some deeds!
While you turn compliments,
Something useful should transpire.
What use is it to speak of inspiration?
To the hesitant it never appears.
If you would be a poet,
Then take command of poetry.
You know what we require,
We want to down strong brew;
So get on with it!
What does not happen today, will not be done tomorrow,
And you should not let a day slip by,
Let resolution grasp what’s possible
and seize it boldly by the hair;
it will not get away
and it labors on, because it must.

~ Goethe, Faust I, Zeilen 214-230 (Goethe, Faust and Tricky Translations)

Now are you ready to begin? Begin it now!

The Need for Flexibility

Kieron Connolly with the October 9, 2010 edition
of the NRC Handelsblad Newspaper (Copyleft Avery Oslo)

In addition to the “write every day” and “create a routine” stuff by which so many other writers swear, Connolly stresses the need for flexibility. “There are many ways to get from start to finish,” he says. The key is to allow each project to be its own thing and deal with it in the way it ought to be dealt instead of tackling a uniform approach.(Kieron Connolly’s Newspaper Novel-Plotting Game)

This kernel of wisdom from Irish writer Kieron Connolly — the author of Water SignThere is A House and Harold — was harvested during a novel writing workshop at the American Book Center in The Hague by  Avery Oslo. It appealed to me for its candor and an almost unorthodox willingness to step away from the routine, routine, routine mantra which pervades much writerly advice.

Each new work is unique, and its creation may well require different routines, different methods and habits and rhythms than previous creations. This will to adapt the creative process per the needs of each new creation is not only more realistic than the systematic, procrustean assembly line model, it’s more exciting. Each new creative experience should be an adventure. A journey. An exploration. This is what makes creating and telling a story so damned interesting!

I wasn’t surprised that Avery Oslo (@AveryOslo on Twitter) had been inspired by Kieron Connolly, and yet I’ve never met either one. Chalk it up to Twitter. Again.

I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Oslo, but I suspect it may have been a retweet shared by a mutual acquaintance. A familiar “digital introduction”, followed by a visit to Avery Oslo’s blog where I read this:

I was raised by nomads (proper nomads. The kind that pick up and move every year at least once) and that makes me a native of nowhere (but also of everywhere!). I am most comfortable in mobile groups of other travelers and transplants. Everything I write addresses some aspect of being transient, at a crossroads, or otherwise in a state of flux. My characters often deal in the currencies of movement and future dreams. If you can relate to that, you might like what I write. (Avery Oslo)

I can relate to that!


After posting this blog, I received the following tweet, adding another interesting Twitter twist:


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