Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shaved heads and other setbacks

We all face little setbacks. Life doesn't hit the pause button when you're ready to write. To be successful in writing -- and in anything you do -- you need to be ready for those setbacks and you must employ two of my favorite all-time quotes:

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Paraphrased and reversed, spoken by Clint Eastwood, written by Jim Carabatsos (the actual quote was cumbersome and backward)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Teddy Roosevelt, spoken in perfect order and brevity

I'm a believer that obstacles are not problems, they are opportunities. I say this at work all the time. "Send me into the fire," I tell em. "Because that's where the opportunities are."

And the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. The harder you have to work at writing -- and I'll stick to writing as the goal here, but really this applies to any goal in your life -- the bigger the payoff.

I don't know why that is, but there's a Divine Law somewhere that says just that: Payoff is directly proportional to effort.

Rarely is it the casual writer who la-lahs into a bestseller with ho-hum effort who then laments that it was too easy.

Instead, it's the struggling artist, the Clancy writing with his kid on his knee, the King locking himself in his office away from his family, the McCarthy writing in squalor, the Grisham going from store-to-store hocking his books and begging for shelf space, the Rawlings writing it out on napkins after a dozen publishing houses rejected her story.

It's the hard-earned EFFORT of the writer that pays off. If it's easy, you're probably doing it wrong. If you quit when it gets tough, then you're not doing it at all, are you.

Which brings me to a shaved head.

I asked my wife this weekend to help me shave my head. I keep it short since there ain't much left to keep anyway. "The guard's not hitting it," she said.

"That's all right," I said.

So she does something behind me and hair starts falling away and I say, "What'd you do?"

"Took off the guard."

Crap. I didn't want to get peeled, just clippered. Now I'm bald as Bruce Willis.

So it's a setback, albeit it a minor one, but I still looked at it as an opportunity.

Namely, I guilted my Sweet Thing into some very nice nibbling.

That's how it works, folks. It's not a setback or a problem.

It's an opportunity.

Even when it's the hair on your head.

- Eric


Stephanie Lorée said...

I started cutting my man's hair last year. He's, shall we say, thinning up top. I like it though. Just yesterday as I was snipping away he said to me, "When you decide it's too thin and time for me to shave it all, just do it. Not like I look at myself."

One day, the time will come when I shave him bald, as bald is preferable to a semi-circle of wisps. For now, we do what we can, with what we have, where we are. :) And I love this line, "If it's easy, you're probably doing it wrong." That's applicable in so many arenas. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

LOL!!! Men's hair grows so damn fast!

Love this: If it's easy, you're probably doing it wrong. If you quit when it gets tough, then you're not doing it at all, are you.

So so true!!

Raquel Byrnes said...

You know, I heard that baldness was actually a sign of extra testosterone...so its actually very manly. Look at Bruce!

One of my favorite teachers used to tell us in high school that obstacles were just opportunities in disguise...very smart lady.

Hope you get some writing in, but take a moment to give your honey a hug.

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Summer Ross said...

LOL- does it atleast look good to you?

I agree that it might be a problem but the reward is usually worth the effort. You said you weren't sure why- but honestly its because if it were so easy- then you wouldn't feel that pang of accomplishment: I survived that: I made it this far: so I think that would be why.

Phoenix said...

lol I'm glad that you turned your bald head into an opportunity to guilt your wife! (I wasn't sure if "nibbling" was about sex or food but figured they are both equally awesome.)

As my favorite Cranky Pants poet Bukowski once said, what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

And fire is where it's at - all that creativity, that energy, that raw power, the changes that fire causes -

Now you don't ever have to wonder why I named myself Phoenix. :)

Jai Joshi said...

Clearly you made the most of that opportunity!

You're right. It is in setbacks that we are able to adapt and find new pathways to our goal. God knows I've had enough setbacks in life to discover a whole heap of new roadways and it's been fun traveling down them and taking advantage of those opportunities.

Writing isn't easy to me but it's definitely interesting.


Erin MacPherson said...

Hi Eric- I love these quotes cause you're right... it's those hard moments that offer the best opportunities. And, sorry about your head peel... I'm sure it'll be a great opportunity for you. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Very creative opportunity making there!!

Love those quote and the attitude - so very true :)

Christine Danek said...

Great inspiration for the writing. you will get there. It's funny but things fall into place somehow.
Good luck with you hair. It'll grow back. :)I cut my hubs hair too although I have not taken the guard off. :)
I hope you get to writing soon.
Good luck!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Eric, thanks for the giggle. I personally love bald heads, they're soft and sexy. Plus what Raquel said.

I, too, suffer from a haircut I wasn't exactly looking for. But guess what. I'm writing again. So so what.

Of course, there is this class reunion thingy coming up. :)

~ that rebel, Olivia

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

First, I just had to mention that I couldn't believe the words "shaved heads" and "setbacks" were in the same sentence. And then, to add to my confusion, there was a picture of Bruce Willis! Bruce! Do you not know that there is no one better looking than BRUCE? (Oh, wait. You probably didn't. Sorry. Sometimes I forget that's just *my* opinion.)

However, when I realized you were trying to make a point, I read further, and the point was a good one. Not quitting, considering everything, even setbacks, as opportunities, and guilting some nibbles from the wife are all wonderful pieces of advice.;)

dolorah said...

My first thought when I saw the pix was "ooh a young Bruce Willis".

You look F I N E dude; no wonder she allowed you "nibbles". Once you put that ball cap on, it'll be the same-ol-same-Eric. Not bad either way.

Eric, if you ever do a "I quit" post without a silver lining somewhere in it I will lose my faith in humanity as a whole. You're perserverance in life is a beautiful thing Babe.

Now, don't forget to wear a hat when you go out in that Big Texas Sun; a sunburnt head is the quickest way I know to make a good man cuss.

Have a great evening Eric.


Fickle Cattle said...

This is hilarious. I do the same thing. Works better on Catholics. The guilt thing is innate.


Jules said...

Sorry I'm late. I was getting all gung-ho and starting to develop a stiff upper lip and then....

I spit my coffee out through my nose.
You funny guy :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Jules said...

Something for you on my blog. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Thanks for directing me back here. Everything you talked about, I already know in my heart. And, believe me, I don't disagree. It's just that being the person who usually lets everyone else speak first - means that all this "unspoken" stuff stays locked away, festers. I don't let it see the light of day very often, but sometimes you need to take the gag off. Keeping it locked away would be much worse. Taking the cork out and letting it breath allows you to look at it with humility, allows you to see that "things aren't sooo bad", allow you to savor the "bouquet".

As to your bald head - you might want to as your honey if she'd been secretly wanting to do that for awhile. Just a thought. Not only that, but, men with a fringe usually look ten years younger when they finally just shave it all off. You may find that you don't want it back!

Vegetarian Cannibal said...

Bruce looks great bald! So does Patrick Stewart, Vin Disel and Jason Statham! If you have the right shape head, bald men can look just as smexy as men with long locks.