Somewhere Along the Way…

…I wrote a book.

It’s a strange thing to think about. It’s even stranger to say. But somewhere along the way, I actually wrote a book. There are roughly 80,000 words spread out over a few hundred pages and they’re all mine. It’s not on a shelf yet in a bookstore or library. It’s not available on Kindle or Nook and it’s not sitting on someone’s desk as they contemplate turning it into a movie or TV series.

But that’s ok…it’s done.

I made a decision back in 1998 to write a novel. I started that year and threw out more drafts than I care to think about. Wait, let me amend that statement. I started that year and threw out more UNFINISHED drafts than I care to think about. I had no idea what I was doing, but I tried. To some degree, I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I continue to try. Year after year, I continued to try. Year after year I continued to get frustrated and distracted…almost gleefully distracted actually. And year after year I continued to generate more excuses. Some of them were legitimate excuses, but most of them were, well, just that…excuses.

Excuses that were sired by fear.


We all have certain hopes, dreams and goals. In our minds’ eye we see ourselves happy and successful after achieving something that means EVERYTHING to us. What we don’t think about though, is the path to that success. We don’t see it until we decide to embark on our journey. The journey is long, it’s dark, it’s lonely, dangerous and absolutely frightening. Some days you imagine you’re the Dread Pirate Roberts and you’re negotiating the fire swamp one day and battling rodents of unusual size the next. Most days though, you imagine that experience would be much easier than your current one.

But nothing worthwhile is easy. Nothing worthwhile is free of frightening twists and turns. Quite frankly, if you’re not afraid of stumbling…of not achieving your goal…well then, it probably doesn’t mean as much to you as you say it does.

There’s this delightful little, “…danger is real, but fear is a choice” thing going around made popular by one of Will Smith’s less than stellar efforts on the big screen. And it is true, fear is in fact a choice. You can walk that path to success and turn and run out of fear, or, you can choose to not be afraid and embark on your journey. Or, you can do something else.

You can CHOOSE to be happy.

Fear is a choice…but so is everything. The mind is a powerful thing. It serves as both a useful tool and deadly weapon. Because of that, every thought, every spoken word, every feeling and every possible decision is a choice you make. And so I challenge you instead, to walk that dangerous and frightening path having made the choice to be happy. Batman chooses to not be afraid and he sits alone in a cave with bats. The key word there being “alone”.


Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Batman. We love him because we’re all afraid. And because he’s not, he’s able to fight the bad guys and make us feel secure at night. Yes, he’s bad ass and filthy rich, but is he experiencing life?

Are you?

The choice to be happy as opposed to the choice to not be afraid, keeps you out of the cave with the bats and gets you out into the world with a chance to experience all that life has to offer. Choosing to not be afraid allows you to bear down and power through adversity, but choosing to be happy means that instead of running from the things that would normally scare you, now you stand face to face with them and learn instead. Choosing to be happy provides you with a series of teachable moments that enhance your life experience. Happiness is contagious and creates a desire and need for integration, love and understanding across the globe.

Choosing to be happy brightens that dark path allowing you to finish that novel, poem, painting, work project, or whatever it may be that helps fulfill you.

So what will you choose today?



About My PoeticJustus

Look, I'll be honest. These "about me" sections drive me nuts. Basically because I'm awful at self promotion. Ok, not so much awful as, uncertain. I mean, what do I say? How much do I share? Do people really care? Here's what I'll do. I'll share some info and you can just decide what you like and what you don't. Deal? Cool!! So, I am Chicago born writer moonlighting as a mental health professional. Now, my paycheck and bank account would tell you that the opposite is true. But in my heart, I'm a writer. I have a few characters that I am very passionate about and some stories to tell and in between there, I have thoughts to share. Some are serious, some are funny...ok...most are funny. Nothing brings me more joy than stirring up the pot, pointing out hypocrisy, and getting people to think outside the box and challenge their long held beliefs. I don't want to change your mind or your habits...just think of me as the Devil's Advocate. So hey! Sit back, take a read, and feel free to let me know what you think. See ya around cyberspace!! Dennis
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