Some people are worriers, and some people aren’t. You non-worriers, I salute you and the mind doors you must possess, each with its own lock and miles of file cabinets where each thought is put in its place. Beyond those doors, I picture the inside of your heads like a tropical beach, all drinks included, the view bright and clear as far as the mind’s eye can see.
Not so much for the worriers among us,
And now, with the far-reaches of the internet, I have so much more to worry about. People I’ve never met and will never meet on far-off islands, once lush paradises, now stripped bare by vicious hurricanes. The citizens of Mexico, tormented first by one earthquake and a tropical storm, and then by another earthquake.
I worry for strangers who could be the targets of police violence; I worry for disabled children who rely on Medicaid to live at home with their parents instead of in an institution. And that’s on top of the normal worry stuff, like what if I never have another creative idea in my life, and hey wait a minute, that’s a good idea for a story.
But what if I don’t finish what I’m working on because I get distracted with the new story?
But I’m going to fill you in on what might be a mixed-blessing secret, my lovely fellow writers and my lovely fellow readers. I can’t confirm it, but I think worrying is one of our superpowers.
Why? Worry leads you down a trail of thoughts, and thinking is the mother source of inspiration. It also forms the wellspring of imagination, and without an imagination you cannot get lost in a book.
So the trick is to harness our worry for good, to take these fears and find a way to make them work for us. And we might make it to those mind-beaches yet.
For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.
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