When I was in high school, I tried to write like Ernest Hemingway. It is an embarrassing admission but I liked his books and he liked cats, so it made sense. I was way in over my head. I was also young enough and naïve enough to think I could write like someone else. I think I was attracted to his simple sentences and how he took complicated stuff and broke it down into something I understood.
Here’s the thing; Hemingway wrote in a bold, powerful style. I think what drew me to his writing style was how it seemed simple to me. This is a simplicity which has been like an itch in the back of my brain for several years. I have written about my search for simplicity which has not been a straight line but more a circuitous, wandering route.
I have always been a blunt person. I have always simply said what I believe to be the truth and then argue my points with logic if requested. I have always been able to be simply honest with myself and admit things in prayer that I would not share with anyone other my wife.
I think one impediment to simplicity is that I like a challenge. I think this need for competition extended to my drive to take on as many tasks, in cascadingly greater complexity, just to prove myself. The fact is, that to find and embrace simplicity, is really complicated and has to be approached one problem at a time.
Enter Lisa. My wife Lisa has consistently landed on the side of simplicity and gently asked me to do the same. Lisa cooks simply, lives simply and acts simply. She was a good example which I could follow and from which to learn. I watch her to this day and use her example of simplicity.
Here is what I have found so far; simplicity comes from experience. Experience teaches you that so many of life’s actions are not needed and that you should just trust yourself and act upon your own instincts. I also believe that with experience comes age. Age removes some of the excess energy which allows you to make all the extra, complicated dance steps when you should just obey your inner rhythm.
I think I also worry that completion of a task means I will have nothing to do which means I need to complicate the task to extend it. It is a fine line between perfecting a project and needlessly frittering away as you descend into complications. Living on our little farm has taught me that there is always something else to do. I don’t have to worry about being without projects and that I should simply finish each task as soon as possible.
I have work to do yet I feel life is simpler with each day. I’ve said what I can about the subject and so will end this week’s column-simply.