What makes a healthy cookbook like a motorcycle manual?
They both end every instruction with “do this, or you will die.”
They’re absolutely right. Everything is trying to kill you. The burnt bits of your toast cause cancer. You think drinking tea is gentler than coffee? Millions of people have died over both plants. We eat heart disease. We drink diabetes. We breathe cancer, and fry in an easy-bake-melanoma oven every sunny day.
Despite all this, you still need to leave your house, eat, and caffeinate. You have bigger battles to fight.
Think about all the little risks you take. Drinking. Drug use. Fast food. Picking a fight online. Eating off the floor. You’ve done it. You’re fine.
Now think of bigger risks you’ve taken. Sleeping with a psycho. Moving to another state. You’ve done it. You’re fine.
There are even bigger risks on the horizon that you’ll need to deal with. Writing a sex scene that your dad will read. Deciding when to say no to an editor. Budgeting. Interviews. Public speaking. Standing tall while “you fucking suck” web sites crop up to defame you.
When you realize how many things try — and fail — to kill you, your baseline for reality shifts. Dangerous things become non-issues. Your priorities shift. Your focus shifts.
Every time you do something that scares you, you transform fear into knowledge. You’ll trust yourself more and fine-tune your instincts. Your job is to record what happens when the world tries, and fails, to kill you. That’s where the stories are. Get out there, take risks, and come back to tell the tale.
“Mobile phone cancer is more common in the city. So is everything else — including sex, coffee and conversation.”
— Dylan Moran
“Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.”
— Antonio Machado