Think on: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, then to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory nor defeat.” T.R. Roosevelt
Tumbleweed spent 8 years in a part-time gig as an adjunct professor of business at a local college, teaching management, finance, marketing, and the like. It was a joy to share and impart knowledge. Students would often ask about their careers. The Tumbleweed answer was simple yet profound; as I’d draw three intersecting circles…a Venn diagram. In the first circle, the student would put what they were great at; in the second what they were fully passionate about; and the third whether it could earn them a living. The nexus was what author/researcher Jim Collins in Good to Great called the BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
That’s a long way to getting around to sharing Tumbleweed’s BHAG. Perhaps, my experience will help you find yours. As a freshman in high school, my English teacher had us memorize lines from Shakespeare. I chose Marc Anthony’s soliloquy over the body of the murdered Caesar, “Oh pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle with these beggars…” I was hooked. I wrote my first poetry. Powerful. Cathartic. But life went on. Tumbleweed sort-of-grudgingly majored in English with a history minor in college, partied heartily, then left the creative to get a job writing technical manuals for military systems. That was a far cry from creative writing. But the trail led Tumbleweed to other communication forms, like advertising copy, brochures, press releases, scripts, and websites. In the background, poetry, the music of the soul, kept my creative juices alive. Business pursuits kept the lights on, but…
At some level, Tumbleweed was fairly good at writing – and even passionate about it – yet couldn’t lift the craft to the ultimate, fully-dedicated heights of passion, as my creative writings weren’t earning income. A couple of early novels danced from fingertips to computer keyboard. Tumbleweed self-published a Christian men’s self-help book, Building Godly Manly Men. (Generally speaking, men’s self-help books don’t sell…no exception here.)
So, have you read Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities? I not only read it but attended a talk by the author at a hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Wolfe was resplendent in white linen suit, expounding artfully on his craft. Tumbleweed so wanted to be at that lectern, talking about his own books. The fire had been lit. I wrote another book, and then another. The drafts sit gathering dust. I published a novel for teen boys, Jackson’s Journey. It got good reviews on Amazon, and a few copies were sold. Nice, but not a way to earn a living. Had to keep the day job.
Then, Tumbleweed’s writing passion was truly rekindled. I picked up a dog-eared, coffee-stained copy of part of my Texas ancestral history along with a hand-scribbled family tree. From that emerged an historical novel, biographical in nature, about Tumbleweed’s great great grandfather Nicholas Dunn titled Long Larry Dunn: A Texas Family Destiny. (Long Larry was Nicholas’ own grandfather.) The Texas tale inspired more poetry and led to self-publishing Life Unfettered, a collection of dozens of Tumbleweed’s poems. I joined the Poetry Society of Texas, the Pennsylvania Poetry Society, and Catoctin Voices, a local poetry group. Another Texas novel surged from my dreams and passions. Cowboy Nation: A New Republic is a fictional account of a Texas successfully gaining independence from the United States. Tumbleweed joined the Texas Nationalist Movement as part of the research for the book. A third Texas historical novel, Recollections, about a cousin who was a railroad entrepreneur and helped build the Panama Canal is in the works today.
The dream, the vision, the passion lurks within. Tumbleweed envisions sharing Texas with large audiences of western story aficionados. And, I hope to vividly capture and share the stories of my own ancestors that immigrated from Ireland to settle the Texas frontier. They were men and women of faith, hard-working, and able to endure life and find joy on the Texas frontier. After all, everything is bigger and better in Texas. No blarney.
So, what’s your dream? Vision? Passion? Just sayin’.