For those of you who have been following this blog since the beginning, you will know that some time ago I instituted the practice of asking a question at the end of most of my posts. This practice was something that I picked up from other successful bloggers in an attempt to generate conversation. I want you, my readers, to talk to me.
Some time ago (but not as “ago” as when I started asking questions; that wouldn’t make chronological sense), a couple of you started complaining about the questions. You said they were tacky and unwarranted and took away from my writing. I assured you that no one was judging my writing on the questions.
Last night, when I was thinking about my blog (I think about it far too often), I decided that my assurances didn’t get to the point. I started thinking about my favorite posts, the ones of which I’m most proud. Very few of them have questions at the end.
If I am not proud of a piece, how can I ask you to read it? If I don’t like how a piece feels, how can I expect others to like it?
I know it seems like I should have come to this kind of conclusion weeks ago since I’ve been writing a post every day. But I didn’t. I came to it last night. Sometimes, I’m a slow learner.
I know everyone says that you can’t live for other people. And I know that roughly six billion people have said the same thing. But no one ever says why. The reason why you can’t live for other people is because when you do, the passion leaves, the art is gone, and the magic disappears.
Abolish more questions.
[P.S. I want to make it very clear that the abolition of questions means that I respect my readers enough that I think them confident enough to comment when they have something to say. I still want to hear what you have to say. Just because my posts no longer end in a question mark doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear your stories.]
I wish I talked to people more. I chatter with people all day, but it’s useless noise. I don’t ask hard questions. I don’t want to offend. Instead, I spend my time complaining and gossiping. Which is great if your friends are one-dimensional stock television characters. (Hint: They aren’t!)
Most of the people I know want to change the world. But we think it’s going to come from raging against the machine. It won’t. We think if we yell loud enough, cry often enough, complain ferociously enough that we will one day change everything. But that’s never going to happen.
I have mentor crushes on two Christian bloggers, Jon Acuff and Donald Miller. Some people know that if a specific person popped the question, they would say yes. I know that if either of these two offered to be my mentor and teacher, I would move wherever they told me to and do whatever they told me to. By no means are either of them perfect. I have followed them through several missteps and foot-in-mouths. But there is something really important about both of them. They love people’s stories.
In one of Donald Miller’s books, he talks about a group of five or six guys who didn’t know each other. He thought they should, though. So he invited them all to breakfast and said something like, “Listen, you are all really creative and passionate people. You can be important to each other. We should be friends.” And just like that, friendships were born. They met biweekly for breakfast and a couple of years later, they were serving as groomsmen in each other’s weddings.
I live in my own apartment now. And one of my favorite parts about it is that when I invite people over or plan a lunch or dinner with someone, it means something. I can talk to them. I don’t have to chatter. It’s not enough, though. I want all of my interactions with others to be important, to be meaningful, to be real.
Let’s get coffee. Let’s talk. Even if I don’t know you. Even if you don’t like coffee. Shoot me an e-mail if that sounds like a plan.