Success is Sure

I’m a fan of Mark Twain. He is the sort of person I wish to be one day. Or at least what I imagined him being: An old guy sitting in a rocking chair on a porch spewing out wisdoms. With big hair and killer fashion sense. The sort of man that most ignored while alive, but seek out the wisdom once departed.

Recently I misquoted Mark Twain. I wrote, “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.” Which is a close variance on his original quote as seen in the image above.

In many ways I am on a road to success with my writing. I am confident in my ability to write. And completely ignorant to the fact that not everything I write is worth reading. But I still manage to write. It’s just a matter of figuring out how I wish to measure my success. Is it monetary? More followers? Comments?

I’ll probably never know if I’m successful because the game keeps changing.

Life and memories.

“What is human life? The first third a good time; the rest remembering about it.” -Mark Twain

 
Over these past few months I have been sharing thoughts and memories about my life.  I’m writing to get my creative juices going.  What I’m trying to do is publish a more positive outlook on life for others to enjoy.  (That’s a lie, I’m writing for my own selfish reasons.  I want the world to acknowledge my existence.)

Last week/weekend, my mother was in town to visit and look after my children while my wife and I went to Emerald City Comicon.  When we returned, we were sitting down for dinner and my kids began asking questions about my childhood.  Gramma shared stories of my terrible twos and troublesome threes.  My children laughed at the stories of my misadventures. 

I shared a story of the first Godzilla film I saw (Godzilla vs Mothra), detailing where I was, when it was, and what the weather was like outside.  I even remember that after the movie, another Godzilla film was starting, followed by reruns of the old Spiderman cartoon (a giant plant creature was wreaking havoc on the city). During this time, my mother was busy ironing and then making lunch.  It was 1978, and I wasn’t even three years old yet.

I also shared a couple of other stories from those days, and my wife was rather surprised. She questioned how I remember things that happened when I was two years old. Honestly, it never occurred to me that people would lose memories or that regular events never stuck with them from a young age.

Most people share stories of greatness from their high school days.  Or briefly remember playing Nintendo for the first time.  Looking back on my life, I’ve done quite a bit, and enjoyed most of it.  

If Mark Twain is correct, then the first third of my life isn’t over.  I’m still having a good time and I haven’t stopped living just to remember what I’d done.  If my math is correct, I’ll be living well into my mid 100’s at this rate.

Make. Good. Art.


Nearly four years ago, Neil Gaiman gave a commencement speech at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and it went viral.  Every so often I look back and watch the speech in order to draw more inspiration from it.  Watch it here

I love the arts.  From books to film to drawing to handmade creations- people are talented.  I’ve always wanted to write since being in high school.  It has taken over twenty years for me to be courageous enough to pursue this endeavor.  Choosing to post in my blog everyday, has been a way of putting myself out there.  Some days only a dozen people read what I wrote.  Other times 1200 people read what I have written.  I’m not successful, nor is that my goal.  I am writing for my pleasure.

 

Two stories of art in our front entry.

We have seen great art by attending all sorts of Comicons in Western North America.  Our collection started small with a few postcard sized art work (that’s all we could afford at the time) to what has now become a beautiful array of imagery in our home.  Each artist we have purchased from was sitting at their table, selling their art, & still drawing while talking about their passions.  There is a certain amount of courage it takes to be able to showcase and sell your beloved art.  My wall is happier than it ever was.  People enter my home and something will catch their eye, and they’ll ask where we got it from.  Our wall is almost filled, so we will be expanding to the other three walls as time goes on.

Not all art is two dimensional.  We have made purchases of clothing and crafts as well.  People who take their time and put attention into the details- show pride in what they have created.  It makes me happy to own a part of their handiwork and showcase it to my friends.

The art I create is my art.  I’m choosing to share it with the world.  Good or bad, I created it and I am holding it out there saying, “Look what I can do!”

Perhaps one day I can give an inspirational speech based on my journey.  But until then-

Make.  Good.  Art.

Safety

“Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt.” –cliché

This phrase means more to me now than any old western or hold-up movie since starting work in the railroad industry.  I orignally heard someone say it during my training.  What I thought was just a humorous quote, truly meant more as my career went on.

SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY.

We work in an unforgiving environment.  From the engines to the box cars, from the hot blistering sun to the freezing cold winter nights, from trying to read our lists to using the radio to speak with crews- there is so much to remember.  It all comes down to working safely.  We rely on each other at work.  Working 8-12 hour shifts, we all want to go home at the end of the day to our families and friends.  If you haven’t been onto the tracks before- stop and assess the situation.  If you don’t understand what is being requested of you- ask again.  Don’t make a move if safety is in question.

“Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt.” 

  

In response to the 3-day Quote Challenge (Day 3)

I nominate the following bloggers for the 3-day quote challenge:

themattharding

The Running Garden

Vandale on Sports

If you accept, post 1-3 quotes for 3 consecutive days, and nominate 3 fellow bloggers to do the same each day