My friends, today I have a story for you (since I do claim to be a storyteller by trade). This is a tale of defeating the odds, of going from nothing to everything. This is a tale of success.
His name was John. His father worked in a factory, and his mother stayed home with John and his six siblings. His parents stressed the value of education—meaning high school, after which the seven children were expected to find appropriate vocations to support their wives and children (because obviously they would have wives and children) and their aging parents. Education was a route to survival. John's parents never encouraged ambition or fantasies. They were too grounded.
But John was not like his parents. He wanted more for himself. He loved science and anatomy and was entranced by the images in his textbooks. He watched television shows where doctors cut through bodies to mend their insides. He imagined the glint of silver tools and the word "Doctor" before his name.
John wanted to be a surgeon, and he wanted it bad. He told his teachers and his friends. He prayed to God every night to help him. He told his parents of his aspiration, even though he knew they would not approve.
Then John graduated high school. He stood holding his diploma and looking around at the crowd gathered on the football field.
An old man approached him. "Congratulations," he said. "What are you going to do now?"
"I'm going to be a surgeon."
The man smiled at John's ambition. "What university are you attending?"
"I didn't apply to any universities."
"You didn't apply?" John shook his head. "Then how did you expect to become a surgeon?"
"I want it," John told him. "I want it more than anyone else in the world."
The old man smiled again, knowingly. "You do, and that is why I am offering you a surgical position at the finest hospital in the state."
—wait a minute...
I trust you've realized this story to be fictitious. So now, like a good reader, you are searching for a theme, a point. Let me help you.
You can want something more than anyone. You can want something so badly you carry it in your bones. You can want something until the day you die.
You will never get it unless you act.
Nobody cares that you want to be a writer unless you prove it with hard work and dedication. Writers so often speak of our passion, but that passion is useless unless we use it to fuel our practice. We must work, the same as any other discipline—more so, if truth be told. There is no definitive correct in writing. Therefore we are always striving, always pressing to get a little better.
But you don't get better because you want to.
You have to work for it.
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