Do not be alarmed, this is not a posting about golf. I know that can scare some people off, so, rest assured, the actual mechanics of the game of golf will not be discussed. Rather, I wanted to reflect on a lesson I learned very recently, and it all kind of spins around the subject of golf. This will involve a little history about me, but I promise no golf games will be discussed. Seriously. None.
When I was a kid, everyone knew the Olympia Fields Country Club was this fancy place hidden in a secluded nook off of Western Avenue, walled in with its tree-lined course hidden from peering eyes and troublemakers such as yours truly. Since most of us had only heard about it through hearsay, it became a magical thing full of wonder and possibility. My brothers were fortunate enough to have friends who got them jobs as caddies there, lugging the clubs of members who tipped incredibly well but never getting to enjoy the country club itself. The stories they would tell of this wonderful Shangri-La of the south suburbs were amazing, and I always wondered if professional golf would ever arrive at this special place. On occasion, in my late teens, I had a chance to drive into the neighborhood surrounding the country club to help my boss (who was a member). That felt like the closest I would ever get to such an amazing location.
Fast-forward to a couple years ago. Professional golf had finally arrived at Olympia Fields, and somehow it seemed like no big surprise. Also that year I attended a memorial service for a friend of mine, and the Celebration of Life was held at one of his favorite places - Olympia Fields Country Club. I drove up, gave my name at the gate, was let through, and I found myself in that place I only dreamed about as a kid. And for some reason, it felt very natural to walk through there in my suit and tie, admiring the facilities, looking across the lush greens. My inner child was in utter disbelief that I finally made it past the gate, but present-day me found out it was a very nice fit to be there.
Okay -- no golf. But where's the writing lesson? It's pretty simple. The most daunting thing I ever faced as a writer was the mere thought of writing something big and important, 70,000+ perfect words all lined up in such a way that people would choose to read every one of them. How could I dare dream something like that? Such a fantasy was just that, a daydream by an economist who had no place thinking he could be anything else. Such a world belonged to writers, not people like me. Nevertheless, I put some words down, wrote a few stories, then a few more, and decided to see where it would all go. Before I knew it, I was a writer with a couple of books published and a third in the works. And having taken that journey, it now seems like the most natural thing I ever did.
To the aspiring writers out there, keep on writing. Write your stories, make your mistakes, develop your craft, and realize that if you keep on pursuing it, you will end up walking down the hallways reserved for writers, and you will belong there.