Have you ever read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho? It’s likely that you have since it is such a famous book by such a famous author. However, in case you have not read it, let me tell you about one of the most striking lessons in the book.
A boy, the main protagonist of the story, arrives at a Wise Man’s/Sage’s home and waits two hours in line to meet with him. After hearing the reason for the boy’s visit, the Sage invites the boy to walk around his magnificent home and see all of its wonders–but he asks him to carry a teaspoon with two drops of oil in it as he tours the home. He instructs the boy to not lose the oil. So, the boy takes the tour, being mindful of the oil, and returns two hours later, oil still in spoon, to speak with the Sage once more. The Sage asks him if he noticed his art, his gardens, his tapestries…but of course, the boy hasn’t. He was paying attention to the spoon and the oil. Once more, the Sage sends the boy on a tour with the spoon and oil but tells him to please appreciate the magnificence of his home. The boy sets out again, but this time, he pays attention to the art, the gardens, the tapestries, the architecture…and returns to the Sage later with an empty spoon. Ultimately, the Sage tells the boy that the secret to happiness is taking in all of the wonders of the world but never forgetting the two drops of oil.
Lately, I have forgotten my two drops of oil. I’ve also forgotten to take in the art, gardens, and tapestries. I’ve let my spirit and attention become taken away by things that I cannot control. Rude and demeaning emails and DMs. Personal health issues. People not keeping promises that they have made without so much as an apology. Drama created over nothing. There have been a lot of events over the last few weeks that have almost made me forget who I am as a person and a writer. Luckily, I have amazing friends who remind me of who I am.
Chase Connor is a kind person, a hard worker, creative, loving, adventurous, happy-go-lucky, thoughtful–sometimes a smartass–and wants to lift others up. But Chase Connor has not been these things over the last few weeks. He has let the aforementioned issues make him reclusive, quiet, taciturn, indecisive, and suspicious of the kindness of others.
I don’t want to be that version of Chase Connor–because, again, that’s not who I am. But, I’ve been taking everything in without paying attention to my two drops of oil, I suppose.
Henceforth, I will allow myself to notice the wonders (and the not so wondrous) around me, but keep my eyes on my two drops of oil as well. I will not let myself lose sight of what it is that I want for myself as a person, a writer, a boyfriend, and a friend. I cannot control how the things I say/tweet are taken, nor am I responsible for people assuming that they can treat me a certain way because of those things. I also cannot control that people make assumptions about me due to the fact that I belong to certain communities. Everyone will get the true version of Chase Connor, regardless of the people on the periphery who make that difficult at times.
To my friends in the Writing Community (especially the LGBTQ+ community), the past few weeks have been difficult for reasons I will not make us talk about further. However, I know the greater majority of all of you are wonderful, kind, beautiful, creative people. Don’t lose sight of your two drops of oil because of all of the distractions.
Those things do not define us.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,