Romantic relationships can be emotionally stabilizing or motivating, and can also be a great distraction, but relationships with friends and family are a must. I’ve talked about my friend Alexandra enough that this should already be obvious. Whereas being in the middle of a romance may inspire one to greatness, especially if you are married with a family that needs financial backing and financial wooing, properly developing friendships and family relationships water the seeds of intellectual rose petals. Without these intellectual rose petals, you won’t be a writer and you won’t be successful.
Financial wooing is important, trust me… if there are any sugar mommas out there to support my life forever, or just some well-meaning patron, contact me immediately. Still, a writer must be able to spend time in the fields of intellectual and artistic greatness if personality-destroying fame is ever to become a reality, and that does not happen in romantic relationships. Romantic relationships are, as I said in my previous post, a distraction to the type of thought and work-time a writer and artist must become well-acquainted with. Perhaps a romantic relationship feeds the right emotions needed, but the required processes of the mind need to be fed somewhere else.
For some, a Lone Ranger fight against the world is the intellectual field that will bloom greatness; even for those some, of which I consider myself one, friends and family are still needed. Maybe the ties with friends and family don’t need to be strong but they need to exist all the same. Family provides, at the very least, a source of ego-stroking love that every writer wants. Starting out is a hard business and I couldn’t imagine doing it without the knowledge that I have a family behind me.
Friends, though, are the key. It’s not a bad thing that you can’t choose your family—our families are a lesson in life if nothing else—friends provide the opportunity to choose characters, minds, and abilities that will help you grow as a writer, an artist, or whatever the heck you want to be. My friends Alexandra, Paul, and Ben Sloan all bring an artistically-minded confidence to our friendship along with their brilliant artistic abilities, for whom I am particularly grateful; my “other” family as I call them, the Ulmers, along with Dr. Scott Kisker, bring me a source of spiritual support and forgiveness that I’d be lost without in addition to a constant, high-level intellectual challenge to all that I think and believe, not to mention that they are great friends and great models for the life that I hope to lead; and I have a wonderful collection of friends whose faith and love will always keep my writing grounded in the realities of life as well as my dreams for what life could be. These are the qualities that I most value in friends for the sake of our friendship but also for the sake of my hoped-for career. It’s a lesson that we all must learn: how to choose friends that will breathe life into our soul and help us mold ourselves into the person that we want to be. And sometimes, you just need to spend time with people that you love, friends or family, to laugh heartily. Hopefully, though, those people that you “just simply love” also possess the qualities that you’d hope for in a close relationship or more of an acquaintance-type relationship.
Of course, we cannot forget the many people who have already shaped us as we go forth to choose our friends. It is with their memory that we should best learn the type of person that we want close to us as we move forward in life. Just last night, actually, I had a dream that my poetry professor who died a number of years ago was alive and that we could again share poems with one another. That was an important relationship that will stay with me forever. My grandmother who passed away, and my grandmother still living but that I am only now starting to greatly appreciate (I’ve been a terrible grandson, son, brother, cousin, nephew, all of the above, for most of my life); my grandfathers, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and obviously my nuclear family; my Spanish teachers, my philosophy professor, my English professors, and my seminary professors; my pastors, particularly John Wesley Taylor and Allen Merrill and Doug Robinson-Johnson; all these people have not only shaped who I am but have worked hard at protecting me, loving me, and teaching me, and just plain making sure that I’m alive, that I owe it to them to learn the valuable lessons that they have to teach me and to make something of myself. Even if you, my reader, decide not to have close relationships with your family or any of the people who have gone before you, I urge all of us to remember those people so that we can create better relationships moving forward with people that we most want relationships with to best shape us and develop our greatness.
Greatness may come isolated but never in a vacuum. I myself isolate myself oftentimes, sometimes accidentally but usually on purpose, but that doesn’t mean that the relationships I have with people aren’t important. I’d still be without any life-vision or right perspective on the work required to be a writer if it weren’t for Alexandra, Paul, and Ben. And I’d be totally without an intellectual vision if it weren’t for the Ulmers and Dr. Kisker. Relationships, not romantic but just general relationships, are vital to creative greatness.
I only wish that my friends and I had some cool name like the Inklings.
(P.S. I promise to stop theorizing on life in the near future and focus more on what I’m actually doing with my life to make all of these dreams come true)