Muse of the Week: The Chicago Cubs

There are a lot of things to be said for the Cubs. Lessons to be learned and such. The most important of these is that giving up isn’t an option. Not when you know what you’re supposed to be doing. Not when you know what you were born to do. That’s the case with this team. That’s the case with a true artist. When you know what you have to do, you just have to do it. There is no other way. There is no fallback. There is only this.There is only now. And what you’re going to do with it.

There’s something to being youthful. The Cubs have more than their fair share of young talent like Bryant and Baez. And many of them are reasons that the team is where it is today, and where it will likely be in years to come. Though one could argue the same for Cleveland. I know I would. I don’t mean that there’s something to being young. This isn’t the same thing. There’s a vehemence that’s important. That sort of drive that means that there’s more to this than wanting to do it. It means that if you don’t do it, you’ll go insane. This is something that you don’t have a choice in. Writing, or anything else that matters, it isn’t something you do because it’s fun. If people only wrote because it was fun, no one would ever get past the first page and we’d all end up reading self-help books for the rest of our lives. And I like to think I speak for us all when I say that isn’t what I want to do. Not even a little bit. There’s a burning feeling to doing something so basal. It’s catharsis. It’s a sort of bloodletting. Not unlike the almost instinctual nature of wanting to win a game. Not because of precedence. Not because of who had played before them. Not because of anything external. But just for the sheer rush of it. That’s what writing feels like when it’s going right. And when it’s going wrong, for that matter. It really is a bloodletting. And there’s no bigger rush than knowing that it’s exactly where you should be.Even if that place is a blood bath.

There’s something to being wise, as well. It was said to me earlier today that I’m too young to understand life. And that kind of smarted, considering the source seems to not know me at all if they think that’s the truth. Because it isn’t. I’m not saying that you have to be of a certain age to be a writer. That young writers have no merit. Wisdom has nothing to do with age. She proved that to me. What wisdom does have to do with is living. It’s in living as much as you can, regardless of time. With this comes mistakes.  And that’s the most valuable thing you can get. You think a player like Ross hasn’t fucked up from time to time? Hell, he fucked up in game seven. But he didn’t let it break him. And that’s what you learn with wisdom. It’s all in how you handle it. You can’t let a failure get you down. Not if something matters as much as the World series.  Or your own version of it. Whatever that may be. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of experience. You’ll only be that much better for it.

The people you surround yourself with are fucking important. There are going to be a lot of missteps. There are going to be people who don’t get it and don’t want to be around you when things aren’t going your way. Nobody knows you when you’re down and out, as the old song goes. They’re also likely to ignore the holy hell out of you until you suddenly come into success. They’ll pretend that they were there all the time. These are your fair-weather fans. And they’re lower than a leech’s penny loafers, as my great-grandmother said. And she was right. I’ve known more of this type than anything else. And they suck. But then there are going to be others. These are the Cubbies fans of your life. They’re the people that are going to be there, no matter if you’re doing well or doing poorly. They’re going to support you. There are so many fewer in this group. But the ones that are there are so much more important. These are the people that you need. Whether they realize it or not. I have myself a few of these.  They never seem as common. But that makes them all the more sweet when you do have them. It’s so much easier when you do. When in doubt, surround yourself with Cubs fans. They’ll never give up on anything.

Another lesson. And this is a big one for me. It’s okay to be happy for someone who isn’t you. Don’t get me wrong. Someitmes it actually feels better than pulling for your own team. I’m not going to pretend that the Cubs are my team. Because they’re not. But my team has happened to win a World Series in my lifetime. But this brings up an interesting point for your character building. People really do love an underdog. I know I do. Creating sympathy for your main characters, and even your villain makes the reader and the writer more invested. And the more invested you are in a narrative, the more apt you are to see it through. The more apt a reader is to see it through. Anything that makes you feel something is wise. Especially when that feeling is that of connecting. With anything. Even people who weren’t fans of either team wanted Chicago to win. Why do you tink that is? Sympathy. And it also led to this series being the most watched in my lifetime. It was also the best series I’d ever seen. Coming back from being 3-1. Extra innings in a game seven. The rain delay. The regaling of the pep talk given by Jason Heyward. How easy it is for me to pull for Heyward notwithstanding, it all makes for such a great narrative. And everyone loves a good narrative.

Besides. If Chicago can go 108 years without a damned World Series, you can make it as a writer. Or an artist. Or as any damned thing you can dream up. None of us have any excuse to give up, no matter how hard it may seem. And no matter how hard it may actually be. We owe it to our craft. And we owe it to ourselves.

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