(CHICAGO, IL) Alone as I am these days (my wife’s in New York to babysit grandchildren), I think often of death – not that I expect to die physically soon, but that I am already dead in one sense. Age has a way of reducing the acceptance of one’s creativity by others. Detached from the power of influence, an idea, regardless of strength, has no future.
My ideas, for the most part these days, rest in inventory. The young and the old, and for that matter, the poor, possess little influence. Young people and old people alike must surrender their concepts to others in order to have them realized – that’s how a person starting out in a job or one who has been in too many will flourish. The tactic is called driving the bus from the back seat.
Who knows what’s been lost because someone’s unable to sell it? What occupies the thoughts of an idea person unable to promote an idea is the question of worth. When I have my ideas dismissed, it enters my mind, albeit briefly, that they may not be valuable or, at least, apropos to a current audience. As a matter of record, my dead-end ideas are probably as valuable as the trenchant ideas I had in my youth.
It’s the source that my audience questions, not the idea itself. My ego permits me to overcome doubt, but my state doesn’t improve my effectiveness. The result is I jump on the ideas that resonate positively with someone – anyone. The number of projects I take on myself is greater than ever before. Although, for a man on a fixed income, a risk unshared isn’t comfortable.
Last night at dinner, my friend John Richards got me to thinking that we should do more with the Our Longest Drive documentary than simply wait for developments to happen. The day before, Jim, Dan and I discussed how when we drove the bus from the front things got done. Traveling from Chicago to the Arctic and traveling from A to zed aren’t much different. Understanding that time is the one loss that can’t be replaced traces back to the wisdom of experience.
Sometimes I wish that I rolled the dice more. The road ends in Inuvik. You reach the shores of the Mackenzie River and that’s it. Even if you ferry across, there’s no highway to take you elsewhere. An ice bridge used to form in the fall and last through the spring to provide access to Tuktoyaktuk. But even that has disappeared now with the earth getting warmer.
I hear it said that people don’t know themselves. Yet, I find the opposite is true. A person goes as far as his self-awareness permits and then quits. You have to change who you are to go farther.