I usually don’t indulge in Sports Metaphors, but here we go. (“Write what you know,” be damned!)
Major league baseball has a thing called “The Show” or, more properly, “Welcome to the Show.” The Show in American baseball means the big leagues, the Majors. As opposed to the minor leagues (the AAA, AA, A leagues). Usually, someone plays a couple of years in the minors before being “called up” to the Major League. So, the Major League is known as “The Show” as in, “The Big Show.”
Now, when a player is called up to the Majors, there is a sort of unscripted, but expected routine which takes place. First, the “kid,” or new player, will NOT get much playing time. They will be substituted in once games are already lost or won, that is, when the team is well ahead or well behind. And even then, they will get a sparse assignment, a temporary job. Like being consigned to the outfield or being substituted in to hit.
Second, and this is the interesting part…If this new player is put in, THEY WILL GO FOR IT. It’s the Major League—it’s your chance to show the fans, the management, and yourself what you can do, what you’re capable of. You are not going to get substituted in often, so you damn well better make it count. And everyone knows it. You need to GO FOR IT every time because you have nothing to lose. You have to show you BELONG here, or pretty soon, it’s back to the minors.
And here’s the metaphorical angle. Today, we’re seeing the pandemic change. It’s not going away any time soon, it will be around in some form for years. But I’m being called back to the office and it seems like a good time to lay down a marker.
So, here’s the deal. One of the many things I’ve learned from the pandemic. Life is precious. Health is precious. Time is precious. I knew all that before, of course, but all this has highlighted it. And we need that from time to time.
So, once we recognize the preciousness of life and good health, we see the importance of making the most of every moment, every opportunity. You might realize it or not, but it’s the Show now. In fact, you’ve been in the Show your whole life. This is not a dry run or a rehearsal. This is the real thing. The Big Show. The Opening Night. Launch Day. Pick whatever metaphor you like. It’s time to show everybody what you can do. If it’s not too much to say, to show them what you are here to do.
So, for the fellow writers out there, I hope that’s a good kick in the arse to get you motivated. If you need another one, NaNoWriMo is coming up. It starts Nov. 1 this (and every) year. That gives you enough time to gather those thoughts/notes you have, get some structure together, map out the first few chapters, and start writing a novel come the first of November. I already know two fellow writers who will be taking up the challenge this year. Maybe you can be the third? Or fourth?
If a novel’s not your cup of tea, you can start writing a story, or flash piece, or poem today or this weekend. Get to it. Don’t forget, it’s the Show now. Get out there and show ‘em what you can do.
As for me, this writer’s in the Show, too. And boy, does he know it. I used to have a lot of goals before the pandemic. Career and travel and this and that and the other. Ha! [Note: I still have other non-vocational goals, of course, like being a good husband, family member, friend, neighbor, etc…] Now, I am focused on one: becoming a full-time fiction writer. It’s not like some distant dream, it’s a lived responsibility. And that’s a huge difference. It’s not sighing and looking out the window, daydreaming about a different life. It’s about getting my ass in the chair and working, getting words down, and polishing those words until they’re the best they can be. I have the tools, the resolve, and I carve out the time whenever I can. Brick by brick. Day by day. It’s time to show them what this boy can do.
Alright, time for me to get rolling. See you out there and, hey,…
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PS: Somehow, readers’ access to Comments was still blocked. I have finally fixed this problem, so you all should be able to comment as much as you like!