Dave Shepherd petted a wild platypus in an Australian stream. Edmond Lau learned to make emotional connections by talking to 350 Uber drivers. These are only two of many interesting, unique essays I’ve read from my Write of Passage classmates. Meanwhile I’ve spent the last few weeks writing what are essentially brochures for my law office. I can’t help but envy these guys for all the fun they’re having.
I started this class with a clear direction and destination. I planned to write articles only about legal topics (but, you know, FUN articles). A professional development exercise. A deductible expense.
This roadmap fell apart soon after I met other people in the class and learned about the limitless opportunities of the internet. They wrote about interesting, wonky subjects that mattered to them. As a bonus, by publishing these articles on the internet, people with similar interests can find them.
I’ve spent a lifetime gathering knowledge like a squirrel. As a kid I sat alone for hours, lost in the pages of our Encyclopedia Britannica. Whatever edition we had was so old that Australia was labeled as “Oceania.” These moments when I separated from time and memorized facts about people, places, animals, and history, they set me on fire.
Sometimes two random, long-dormant facts in my head intersect. I'll be reading a book and suddenly see connections between ravens and sharks, Apple watches and marriage, coal mines and Native Americans.
These are the moments I want to write about. Not discussions about contracts.
I crave the challenge of plucking one of these ideas out of a lonely room in my head and animating it with words. I have to hold the idea up and shake off the unnecessary parts, all to understand why it made an impression on me. Writing about it – and writing it clearly – is a rewarding activity whether anyone reads it or not.
There might be some people out there who enjoy the way I express these weird ideas. That could be one person or one million people. Either way, making such an unlikely connection in the endless expanse of the internet will feel like magic.
With my original map long gone, I face a twisted path after this class. I will still write some law articles, but I’ll also write about scattered topics. Maps, business ideas, micro-histories, investments, spy novels, animals, rugby, and whatever else I take a shine to. In time I will find a consistent thread. Until then, anything goes.
If you happen to be interested, I’ve got more wandering ahead of me. I’ll appreciate some company along the way.
I wrote this essay as part of an online writing course, Write of Passage. If you enjoyed it, much of the credit goes to Chris Wong. He graciously took time to give valuable feedback on early drafts. Thank you, Chris!
Photo Credit: Cover photo by Dave Burnett. I am not really that hip but he made it look that way.
I also must thank David Perell and all of my classmates for guiding me as a writer. Thank you!