Dec 122013
Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the Muse in a 2009 talk.

Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the Muse in a 2009 talk.

I’ve mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert in this space before. She’s the author of Eat Pray Love, and she gave a killer TED talk on having a genius instead of being one.

I ran across an interview with her in Copyblogger a couple of days ago. This came after she enjoyed success with another book, disabusing her personal fear that her best work was behind her at 40. I guess you can call this interview Elizabeth Gilbert 2.0.

Here, she gets more into her actual creative process and less on operating with (or without) the Muse. But since she so eloquently covered that topic in her talk, there shouldn’t be a problem with that.

By the way, if you missed her Ted talk, you’re probably in the wrong place. Go check out Buzzfeed or something. Just leave me alone.

She operates a little differently than I do. While I concentrate on doing something with my craft every day, she dedicates large blocks of time to her writing and will take time off (primarily for research) between projects. But like me, she says it’s a long slog from idea to finished product. It’s that three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach rather than going for the big play.

I notice she’s not all gaga over tools; she uses a mini-laptop and Microsoft Word (I’d rather gargle razor blades) to get her work done. Other than that, she’s as goofy over index cards as I am.

But that’s majoring in the minors here. I did pick up some nuggets I can use and don’t mind sharing:

  • Writer’s block really does exist, but it’s symptomatic of something deeper. Like fear. Or perfectionism. Or narcissism. Or the urge to pour Jack Daniels over your Wheaties. Or a whole variety of physical and/or mental ailments.
  • She battles these blocked moments by going easy on herself. Definitely worth listening to, *ahem*Eric*ahem*.
  • She tries to cooperate with her project rather than fight it. Collaboration. Don’t know how successful she is with that, but based on her body of work it appears to be working.
  • Perfectionism is an enemy, and something that is fraught with rabbit holes (oh, how I’ve noticed). She figures her work doesn’t have to be 100% to ship her work; 90 percent is plenty good enough.
  • She clears the decks before starting. Tells her friends they might not see her for a while. Deep-cleans the house. Maybe moves into another house that’s already clean. But she gets that front end stuff done, and there’s something ritualistic about the whole thing.

Hey, check out the interview for yourself. And take a look at her writing area. Very cool; much cooler than my own. Could stand a little more natural light, though.

# # #

Update: Completed the second draft of B.I.C. Cartel on Wednesday, and started on the third draft Thursday. Coming along. Part I should be out on schedule, with a Dec. 31 release date. This also means I’ll hit my goal of four ebooks in 2013.


Jan 082013

(OK, got a little ahead of myself. This is really tomorrow’s posting, so let’s just call it today and be done with it.)

How deeply committed are you to your art? Let’s put it another way: How much adversity can you endure to pursue it?

There’s plenty of stuff around to knock you off track. Life happens. There’s the day job, a family to feed, promises to keep. Many aspects of life threaten to supersede your art.

OK. Some of these things are non-negotiable. But the cast-in-stone things are fewer than you might want to think, and if you’re serious about your art you will find time. If you’re not, you won’t.




Nov 162012

This takes my pre- pre-prep prep time: Brew it up and suck it down. My coffee maker doesn’t look like that, but the coffee sure does.

I read once that Ernest Hemingway always did the same thing before starting a writing session. He’d take seven #2 pencils and sharpen them. As soon as they were sharpened to his obsessive-compulsive specs (remember, this was the guy who rewrote the ending to A Farewell To Arms more than 35 times), he was ready to work.

Other writers have their own rituals before starting. Some I’ve read about include lighting fragrant candles, playing a certain song, wearing a lucky sweater, or grinding one’s own ink. That last one sounds like something I’d like to try, just ’cause. The ink-grinding thing is probably one of those goofy mindfulness exercises that primes the brain, but writing with ink I made myself? How cool is that?

I guess rituals are important. They sort of ease that hard transition into work mode.

These rituals aren’t restricted to creative work, although they’re less mystified when the average Joe does them before hitting the assembly line or cubicle.

When I had my day job at a railroad yard, I usually arrived 10 minutes before time to clock in and had my own rituals before starting. Change into my steel-toed work boots, which I kept under my desk. Throw on a pot of strong coffee. Say hello to my coworkers. Fill my water bottles. Grab my handheld computer, drop in a battery from the charger, log in. Grab something from the snack machine. Clock in, then I was ready to start. Coming back from lunch I’d swap out batteries and start again.

These rituals serve as a buffer, a signal that it’s time to leave the real world and go to work. For some, there’s an element of luck there — like the athlete who dresses from right to left, from putting on his pants to getting into his shoes, before the game.

I’d like to say my ritual is just to start, to hit the ground running. I’d like to say that, but I’d be speaking with forked tongue. I guess all creatives have some sort of ritual that sets them into the frame of mind required to create.

In truth, I have my own startup rituals:

  • I’ll methodically lay out my work area. Coffee cup, water bottle, and smartphone — plugged into my computer because I use that to store my files — to my left. Always to the left. Notes and some snacks to my right. Kitchen timer in front of me. All of these without exception.
  • A couple of minutes to stretch my back and legs. Writing can get physical, especially the way I do it.
  • Crank up stereo.
  • Flip open laptop, log in.
  • Open text editor. I use one of those distraction-free editors that takes up the whole screen, with green sans-serif text on a black background to mimic the old VDT terminals I used in my journo days.
  • Set timer to 25 minutes.
  • Start writing.

I have some other things I like to do before I even leave the bedroom, though they’re hopefully not as OCD as Hemingway’s pencils. But call it my pre-prep prep time. I like to dress for the part. While I have the option of working in my underdrawers, getting fully dressed — even shoes — reminds me that it’s time to work.

Because I prefer to work standing up, I like to have the floor cleared in front of the desk. I’m not much of a housekeeper, but stepping on wires while I work distracts me. I’ll kick any loose power cords out of my way before I start.

I keep a tall stool a few feet away from the desk, out of my way when I write.That’s where I sit when I take my five-minute breaks. I’m a pacer, so I’ll also step away from the desk when I’m wrestling with a phrase or thought during a writing session, but I’ll remain on my feet.

But these are not exactly rituals. OK, maybe they are. I know that variations in even the less-essential stuff — like not wearing shoes, like putting my coffee cup to the right, like wires underfoot — will throw me off a bit. Just takes longer to get my act in gear.

These rituals do the same thing as Hemingway’s seven pencils, as grinding ink, as the fresh battery. They tell me it’s time to quit screwing around. They tell me it’s time to quit thinking about writing and start doing it.

How about you? What do you do to start your work? Would you feel right if you didn’t do these things?


Nov 122012

“I was born to do this!”

That’s a revelation. I wrote about my own epiphany a couple of weeks ago, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

I came back from an Appalachian Trail hike with more than a fine coating of forest grime and clothes that smelled of campfires and the insides of a tent.

I came back with an idea.

Really, this idea had been fermenting in my mind for some time, but I came back with it fully formed.

All I had to do was sit down and write it. So I sat in my living room, with my still-unloaded backpack smelling up the joint, and I started writing.

I don’t buy the so-called logic that there is someone on this planet without a special talent and the passion to go with it. Can’t be. We’re all here for a specific purpose, and that purpose does not include sitting in the bleachers.

But that special talent and matching passions are not always so obvious. Sometimes you have to do some detective work and then dig for it. The older a person gets, this process becomes a bit tougher but it’s never impossible.

My new ebook, “Finding your passion/Where creativity and danger meet” is the result.

Here are a couple of nuggets:

  • You’ll find clues on finding your passion if you haven’t identified it yet. There will be some homework, but it’s worth it.
  • You’ll learn a few things about discovering your talent/passion and what it takes to hone it.
  • You’ll discover the thing that really shocked my behind — that trying to become something you’re not just doesn’t work. Better to build on the talents you do have than to waste time with what you’re not so good at.
  • You’ll discover that what you are is plenty good enough.
  • You’ll discover that, in the final analysis, it’s not about you anyway. As much as I want to fight that thought, it won’t make it go away.

This ebook contains all new material. I’ve touched on some of the stuff in this blog, but there’s no recycled copy.

I’ll be putting this up on Amazon within the week, probably at $3.99 or something like that. But I’ll make a deal with you.

The .pdf version is available right now, for free.

Not only do you get the book, but you’ll also get:

  • A subscription to creative&dangerous, delivered straight to your mailbox.
  • Further creative&dangerous, where we’ll get into applied stuff. This part is still under development.
  • Sneak previews to future ebooks, ’cause I’m gonna need some beta readers.
  • The right to call yourself creative&dangerous. Oh, if you are that already, you’ve earned the right. This just makes it semi-official. Or something.

A couple of hoops before you grab the freebie: You’ll be asked for name and email address, then given a link to get the book. You’ll need to make a couple of trips to your email box to a) confirm your subscription and b) click the download link in your (automatic) final confirmation email.

But trust me. It’ll be worth it.

To grab the ebook (and to subscribe to creative&dangerous), click on this link.


Oct 262012

There’s something about that trail that attracts hardy souls and adventurous types.

I heard her long before I saw her, mostly because sound — especially when it’s a war cry — carries well in the mountains.

But as I talked to the 60-ish black lady with the tattoo on her forearm and a headband around her close-cropped white hair, I began to realize what I was doing up there on Sassafrass Mountain.

Sure, it was a time of refreshing, some bonding with my two friends who are closer than brothers, of good clean manly fun, of testing our mettle against some seriously uncompromising terrain.

But it turns out my reason for being on that Appalachian Trail hike was to hear the war cry near the summit of Sassafrass Mountain.

To talk to people like the two Canadians we ran across near Three Forks, about five miles into our trek. They were heading due south, just a sniff away from the trail’s end — and from the culmination of a longtime dream. They started hiking the AT in 1993, when I was still in Arizona and my two hiking buddies were still in their 20s.

Among hiking circles, everyone knows what the AT is. The big’un. The mother of all hikes. Stretching from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia, this trail takes 2,184 miles. Little of it is on flat ground.

Check this. If your idea of training for the AT is to walk along some hiking trail near you, even with a full pack on, it may not be enough to get you through this hike. Even a 10-mile trip over the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston isn’t enough. Sure there’s incline, but all the pavement is there. It’s relatively smooth. There are no switchbacks on the bridge.

A mile is a mile on the bridge, but it’s a whole different animal on the trail. We usually logged a mile in about 15-20 minutes fully loaded in training, but on the trail that same mile took closer to an hour.

If you think you’re pretty big stuff, take about 10 miles or so on the AT. Start anywhere, but just do 10. It’ll humble you quickly.

Maybe it’s the scenery or the challenge, but The Trail sees plenty of visitors anyway. Some just make it a day hike along part of it. Others will section-hike, starting at one end and finishing at the other, a few days at a time. Other real hardy (and independently wealthy) souls will do the whole thing at one whack, “through-hiking” the trail. If that’s your goal, expect to take at least six months off for this.

Starters and finishers

The three of us — me, Derek, and John — started our first section hike at the southern terminus. When will we finish? No one knows. I may be on a walker when we hit Maine, but we do plan to finish this thing somehow. But there’s no rush.

Derek takes a precarious rest stop.

Our new Canadian friends took 19 years to complete their hike. When we talked to them, they were going at a goodish clip of 15 miles per day and planned to hit the Springer Mountain summit in time for lunch.

“We’ll probably open that bottle of wine we packed,” said one of the hikers, patting his backpack.

Since starting their adventure as younger men, they continued to meet once or twice a year at whatever point they left the trail, strap on their backpacks, grab their trekking poles, and go cut some trail. Most of the time anyway. For about a four-year stretch, they didn’t make it to the trail. Family matters, work, that little thing we call life kept getting in the way. Which, I’m sure, will make that wine extra heady at trail’s end.

“We’re thinking about through-hiking it next,” one Canadian told me. “But we’re still trying to wrap our heads around this.”

War cries from the turtle snail clan

I finally see the shouting lady a couple of hundred yards ahead of me, making her halting way up the mountain to where the front-running Derek (the mo-sheen, we call him) was taking a breather. Clearly pooped, she leans her pack against a rock to take some weight off. She considers a couple of miles to be a good day.

Outfitted with his trekking poles, John’s ready for the trail.

“I’m of the turtle clan,” she says, citing some Native American — Hopi? — lore. “But now it seems like a snail.”

No worries. Never mind what the doctors say. She has arthritis, wears a brace on one ankle, and the doc told her that hiking the AT was one of those things she should never attempt. But she’s hiking for her own reasons.

“I’m a healer,” she says. She does have that New Agey look and bearing about her; her tattoo is of some spiritual motif and she has religious items in her pack. She swears she generates enough electrical energy to destroy a cell phone. “But now I’m healing me. I keep looking off from this mountain and I say, that’s my past.”

It’s clearly a tough go for her. She decided her pack was too heavy to make the climb up Sasafrass Mountain (elevation 3,336 feet), so she gave some of her food to some other hikers.

But she made it this far, and we talked with the summit within sight.

“You’ll hear me shouting when I get there,” she says.

To the members of my hiking party she’s pretty zingy, from way out in deep left field someplace. But we have to share a unanimous “good for her.” She’s on the trail, beating some odds, achieving a dream.

Just like our two Canadian friends.

Or just like John, Derek, and myself.

Sure, life happens. We have jobs and/or businesses, and sometimes we have an uneasy truce with our work lives. We have expectations to meet, promises to keep. John and Derek both have wives who would probably never join us on the trail. This is, for us, extracurricular activity. The boys’ night out.

For more photos, check out The Column

But for Derek, who grew up in northern California and went to high school in Twentynine Palms in the desert, this is something he’s always wanted to do. And John, well-educated with a good job in hospice care, well, this is also something on his bucket list.

I still think I look like I walked in from the set of Deliverance here.

I first heard of the AT when in my early 20s, and it immediately went on my list as something I had to do before I got too decrepit. A couple of years ago, my friend Rick Moore invited me to join his group for a section hike, and I had to beg off due to a foot injury.

But the Trail grew larger in my mind, so the three of us began training and planning for the hike.

Even though life happens and often it’s a series of busted dreams, there’s no reason for me to give this one up.


The trail kicked our butts. Basing our projections on our training runs, we expected to hit 37 miles in four days. Didn’t even come close.

Epic fail, right?


We’ll be back up there in six months, better trained, better equipped, and a whole lot more humble.

“I think that’s the biggest thing,” the shuttle driver told us as he took us back to our vehicle. “I think (many hikers) overextend themselves.”

He knows a little something about this. He’s driven an AT shuttle vehicle for 23 years, picking up hikers who fall short of their goal and take them to their vehicles — just like us. It’s a living.

He hears hikers say it’s easy to hit 20 miles per day right from the jump, and he believes it’s all a bunch of hogwash.

“Your system needs to adjust to this,” he said. “Through-hikers don’t start feeling right until they hit Neels or Unicoi gap (both past the 30-mile mark), then they get their legs and they’re gone. You don’t eat right on the trail. You don’t sleep right. And if your training is just running on the beach … ”

Gee, suddenly I don’t feel like such a wussy.

Get right down to it, even with the blown expectations, our hike was a success. We went out there and did it. We nibbled at it. We want to continue, hopefully for a bigger bite next time.

We came back with a better idea of how to approach the trail next time. Better training. Strip down our pack weights. Plan around water sources. Come back with a new respect for the big’un.

The epic fail would be if I wrote the whole thing off and never attempted to act on such a consarn idiotic idea again. If I gave up and settled back on the couch.

But I’m just not wired like that.

I’d rather listen to my own instincts than to reason any old day.

Catch me and my friends again in about six months. We’ll have some more trail grime to clean off and some more stories to tell you.


(If you’re new around here — or not — you might want to subscribe by mail or by RSS. A Kindle option will be available soon, too.)


Oct 192012

Some things are demanding or complex enough to require a person's best.

There are probably times during your day when you operate at peak efficiency, and others when you’re probably better off taking a nap. The good news is, these times are usually predictable.

There’s even better news on this front: These peak times will evolve as you develop personal habits. I’ll get into that part later.

The whole trick here is to find those peak times, and to my knowledge there’s no real test to determine what those are. As far as I know, there’s no substitute for the good old-fashioned trial-and-error method. That, and running an audit of yourself.

Once you know your peaks and valleys, you can plan your day somewhat. If you’re self-employed, this knowledge is huge. If you have one of those day jobs where you have some control over your work flow, this is still good stuff to know. If you have one of those on-the-line jobs where you make grommets all day, it’s still good information.

If you have a day job and are exercising those creative muscles by building something for yourself in your off hours, this knowledge will be like gold.

What I found out: Some surprises

I did this audit recently, and came up with a few surprises. I have two peak periods a day where I’m really smokin’ and dealin’ — but those peaks are several hours apart. Which means if I was working for someone else full time and need to be at my best for the whole time, a split shift is the thing. But no single employer deserves that much from me.

My peak periods run from about 9 a.m. to noon, and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Each of these periods is followed by a three-hour stretch where I start to wear down but am still good.

But from 3 to about 5 p.m., forget it. I’m useless. Anything requiring brain power takes considerable effort.

Gee, maybe that explains why I was such a strong starter but not a great finisher on my former day job. Getting toward the end of the shift I was sucking on fumes. If that job required any brains, it would have been worse than it already was.

I’m still trying to figure out how the morning thing got into the picture. Like, how did this longtime night person manage to operate in a halfway intelligent manner in the mornings? I’m getting ahead of myself, though. I’ll get to it; just let me lay my story out right.

Trust me. That monkey mind will get ya.

I’m writing this at 9:30 a.m., right there in my wheelhouse. My peak periods are reserved for writing and brainstorming; the real high-impact stuff. A problem is that my mind is so active during these stretches that I’m particularly susceptible to distractions. Especially in the morning session, when I top-load most of my work, I use a timer to keep me focused. Otherwise, monkey mind takes over.

I use my declining periods for some editing, pitching some work, research and work-related correspondence. I try to put the most important stuff toward the front of this time while I still have something.

From 3 to 6 p.m. I’ve shut work down. Forget it. I’m borderline useless. No writing or editing then, otherwise I’ll make a mess of things. Save that for reading, some correspondence, some social media. As I get older I’ve come to appreciate a good nap, and that’s the time for me to do it.

Although I always thought my chunked-up day was because I’m a max-effort kind of guy, after talking to other creative types I find two separate peak periods in a day isn’t all that unusual. It’s like the brain and body catch that second wind. Even when I try to push against my personal tide and try to get stuff done during my useless period, I still perk up in the evening. The only real difficulty here (besides the monkey mind) is that I need to bring things to a hard stop; otherwise I’ll go past midnight. This old guy needs his sleep.

Using the chunks instead of blowing them

OK, so you have a day job and maybe you’ve identified two peak periods in your day. Give one to your employer because that’s the right thing to do. Put your more intensive work into that time slot, and use non-peak times for the more mundane tasks. But if your employer demands both of your peak periods, he’s stealing.

If that other peak time is in the evening, use it for the stuff that demands your best. Write that novel. Work over the chord changes of “Giant Steps.” Build that Next Big Thing. The declining time is still good for engagement, social stuff, and anything that requires you to be present.

Appendix: Peak times will evolve

I find it interesting how my peak times adjusted over the years. I’ve always been a night person; I even sought the midnight-to-8 shift whenever possible. Mornings were for other people. I just don’t do mornings, and anyone who called me before noon usually caught an earful of naked hostility.

What happened?

I’d like to think I’ve matured, but that’s not likely (no future in that anyway). More than likely it was that aforementioned day job. I had to hit the ground running at 7:30 a.m. each day, no fiddling around. That, I think, trained me to those hours.

Some further reading

OK. I’ll admit falling asleep is an issue for me, especially when my mind is in overdrive. I noted it on Twitter the other night:

* * *

Ugh. Still up. #amwriting at 12:30 a.m., BDT. That’s #Bipolar Daylight Time for the uninitiated around here. #brainshutup

* * *

Gets rough around here sometimes.

Liisa Kyle, Ph.D and Lisa Rothstein, those outrageously multitalented ladies at, came out with a blog post about things to do when you can’t sleep, and it’s really interesting. Kyle, who wrote the piece, suggests our current model of falling down and sleeping for eight hours is a fairly recent phenomenon. She cites a BBC piece as evidence.

It seems the normal sleep pattern until the 20th Century was to fall asleep for about four hours, get up for an hour or two, then go back to sleep for another four. The straight eight started to catch on the late 17th Century, and pretty much took over by 1920. You could say increased industrialization and shift work more than contributed to this change.




Sep 182012

I’ve heard that a good way to get started on your work every day is to choose one project and do it for five minutes.

This sounds like nothing. If you’re writing the mother of 140,000-word historical novels or helping Franz Schubert come up with an ending for his Unfinished Symphony, something like that will take years. But in those five minutes of tight focus, a funny thing may happen:

You might strike inspiration. Or failing that, you’ll find yourself so locked in that the agreed-upon five-minute mark passed several hours ago and you’re still rolling. Or not. But without the first five minutes, you’ll never find your groove. 


Sep 172012

Before you get ready to do your work, there’s still a little bit of planning involved even though it’s not nearly as much as someone wants to think.

Pencil? Check. Legal pad? Check. Coffee? Check, on an IV drip. Got an idea what you want to do today? (Uhhh …)

While it’s easy to get bogged down on planning that you forget all about the doing part (full disclosure: this is a habit of mine), at least set a time and place to do your work. Consider what you wish to accomplish. Then let ‘er rip.


Sep 072012


I’m old enough to remember watching Fred Sanford fight. It was always good for a laugh, and even decades after his doppelganger Redd Foxx’s passing, it’s still funny. It’s still seen in male-bonding situations everywhere.

But it’s more than just humor there. Foxx’ pugilistic methods are those of a guy who has all the right moves, has good reflexes, maybe even a good left-right combination. But his opponent is perfectly safe. He may get pneumonia from all that fanning, but that’s about all.

Ol’ Fred’s boxing is aimless. He’s just beating the air.

All art, including comedy, imitates life. The things we creatives do to accomplish our work are taken right from life.

Without a sense of purpose, my work is little more than wildly swinging in random directions. If I hit my target, it’s accidental.

Here’s the thing, though. My purposes may change over time, or even according to the project. When I first started writing, my purpose was to make sure I could really do it, that it wasn’t a mirage.

Later I wrote for practice. I still do that, but over the years I found some other purposes.

For a long time I wrote to make a living, to shake up the status quo, to maybe gain adulation and some awards. I wanted folks to think, man, that Eric is some kind of journalist.

But let’s back up a minute. There’s that purpose thing again.

I think one of the reasons I put all writing on hold in the late 1990s was because I got mixed up on purposes. I wrote to keep food on the table, and it’s not one of the easier/more effective ways to make a living. Are you kidding? Driving a taxi or working in a factory is much easier, and the pay is better. Journalism became a job. I felt like I’d lost all other sense of purpose.

I was beating the air again. Trying to make it interesting. Turning a cool phrase, not for anything related to the story I was telling, but to show off. Launching the Fred Sanford knockout punch, fanning the breeze.

But as far as the other things that come from doing my work — the joy, the fun, the sense of sharing something important, of telling a story that no one had ever told in that way before — those things were not there.

Purpose is important in what the artist does. He need not tell others what this purpose is; some things are best left inside. And it’s worthless to cast a judgement on what the artist’s purpose is. As long as he knows, that’s all that is needed. Besides, if creativity is done for the wrong reasons, the results will show this eventually.

A few years ago I picked up my pen again and scratched out my first uncertain lines in a decade. I had no idea what was going to happen. I wanted to make sure I could still do it; that was enough purpose for me then. Again, making sure I didn’t lose too much.

After my old editor saw some of my work online and told me I still had my fastball, other purposes started to fall into place. I can rattle off a few right now, in just the time it takes to type them out:

I write for fun.

I write to share.

I write because I love to tell stories.

I write to encourage other people.

I write because I can.

I write because if I didn’t, that tiger that lives inside would shred my innards.

I write because I must.

I also write to explore a personal issue, to get it all out, to have a nice healthy purge all over the page. For me, that’s crucial even though I’m the only one who is ever going to read it. Keeping a journal is something I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.

And, oh yes, I do write to improve my bottom line. I won’t discount that, as I’ve gone on record here urging creatives to seek whatever remuneration the work is worth. But if that’s the only reason I do my work, that’s an awfully thin purpose.

You can bet Thomas Edison wasn’t thinking future profits down the road when he assembled the first light bulb. Rather than thinking about what his creation might do for the per-share price of ConEd, he might have been thinking he won’t have to run to the store to pick up more candles. Or more likely, he had that idea that was there, like a burr in the saddle, and he wanted to do something about it.

I write because it was a gift given to me before I was even born, and it’s my responsibility to use it wisely. It’s not like it’s something I own, but I’m holding it in trust.

Man, that’s a heavy purpose.