Not to be confused with the now-famous blogger’s dad, my own father had his own words of wisdom, most of which can’t really be repeated.
But one thing he always said really stuck with me, and I’ve made it very nearly my life motto. Well, aside from the one on top of his blog.
When I was very young, I had to share one bathroom with the entire family until my father built an addition to the house. After that, he had his own bathroom, and the larger one was for my mother, two sisters and I to share, so you’d understand that as a kid, I didn’t realize the true meaning behind his saying.
That is to say, there’s a Literal translation, and there’s a Bigger Meaning.
The Literal translation would be, well, literally what he’d say:
“Either shit or get off the pot.”
Lately, I’ve adopted that as my life’s motivation, in both publishing, and simply living. Either shit or get off the pot. Don’t just talk about it, don’t go on and on about it to friends, family and acquaintances endlessly, over and over again, as the years go by – – DO it.
Just as I came to realize we’re all mortal and people we love will die, often unexpectedly, and once they’re gone, all the chances and opportunities to say and do things you’d always meant to are over – I also realized I didn’t want to be one of those people forever talking about something, forever pointing to a goal, and never reaching it.
A part of having gone Indy is the shit or get off the pot motivator. But that simple yet meaningful phrase is in all aspects of my life, and growing daily.
Just this past Monday, my sister and I started learning how to Belly dance. I can hear you snickering, you there in the back, but I care not! We’ve spent years contemplating it, and got really jealous when our oldest niece took a course while at Princeton, then finally just the other day (well, two weeks ago) I said “Enough! We either Shit, or we get off this pot.”
So we’re belly dancing. Four nights a week, after work. We’re not wasting another minute sitting around speculating on how interesting it would be to learn how to belly dance.
We’re both getting more and more determined to make our father’s saying our driving force, and the results are fantastic. We’re trying new things, instead of endlessly wondering about them. We’re getting things DONE that we’d always just talked about.
I’ve wanted to write a contemporary, non-SF literary novel for years – now I’m doing it.
We wanted to belly dance, now we’re doing it.
Et cetera, etc.
I know what you’re thinking – How on earth are belly dancing and writing a literary novel alike? Well I didn’t say they were. Except that both are things I’d wanted to do before, had even talked about with various people, and now I’m doing. Both are a challenge, both are stretching muscles in ways they haven’t stretched before. Both require patience, and endless reminders to concentrate, go slowly, and take care not to strain anything.
One requires a pen and paper, the other a nice coin hip scarf and harem pants. I can’t say which I like better. The coin hip scarf and harem pants come in more colors, and make lovely sounds when I dance, but the pen has an incredibly primal feel to it, and the smell of paper makes me giddy. Both are physical acts, which require more effort and offer far larger reward. Both are more comfortable to do in bare feet, and both require liberal doses of Aspercreme afterward!
Oh, and I can do both on the back deck, although one is more apt to garner me glances from passing cars than the other.
And both are giving me more child-like pleasure than I can express in a blog. So, okay, they do have similarities.
My father had another saying he used often, typically while we’d be out boating, whenever he saw a larger, fancier boat go by. “I wish I had that, and he had a feather up his ass, then we’d both be tickled.”
I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate THAT saying in my life . . .