“Happy is he who writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale — who writes always to the unknown friend.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
December 3, 2012
My formative years were very special because my parents always encouraged me to think for myself and go my own way. My Dad was great at explaining life without giving me all the answers. By the time I got out of college, I was ready for something completely new and challenging. I left Manhattan, Kansas for Manhattan, New York in 1976 and prepared to test myself against anything the big city had to offer. I flew into LaGuardia Airport on a Saturday night and grabbed a taxi that took me as far as Roslyn on Long Island. I was told to wait for another young salesman from Chemco Photoproducts who would meet me there and take me up to Bayville where I was going to live for the next few months of training. I waited patiently for about an hour but no one showed up. I called the one phone number I had and finally reached David Fales. He apologized profusely for thinking it was a later time to meet me and then got there as fast as he could. We dropped off my one suitcase of clothes at my new residence and then he invited me to meet some other friends from work for a few beers. I should have asked more specifically what “a few beers” meant in NYC.
New York City tested everything about me and then stomped on the leftovers. It was the most basic training anyone could ever endure and I learned more there in 5 months than the sum total of my previous 22 years. It would have been much easier if I had just gone along with everybody else but I couldn’t forget my Dad’s advice, “If it was easy, anybody could do it.” I had to do it my way and my way meant asking questions that nobody wanted to answer. I was going through training with another young guy from New Jersey who was about as worthless as he could be but he played well with others. His incessant condescension grew old very quickly and we butted heads frequently. I remember one day when he was being particularly obnoxious about my Kansas upbringing and how it must seem like Heaven to be living in the Big Apple. I snapped and told him to shut the H@ll up or else. He kept going so I stripped down to my t-shirt to keep the blood off my suit. We were standing nose to nose in the sales manager’s office and I was just about ready to drag his sorry ass to the parking lot for some educational calisthenics when he finally backed down and apologized. Apparently, city boys don’t really like to tangle with farm boys. I wonder why?
When they finally offered me a job in Texas, I readily agreed and took the first flight out of Gotham. The one lasting benefit I still have from my time in New York City is my lifelong friendship with David Fales. Which brings me to the real point of this story. Every time we take a chance, we grow immeasurably by the relationships we add to our existence. David is now my source of wisdom when it comes to things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Google Analytics. David still lives in Connecticut but we stay in touch through e-mail and LinkedIn. I recently asked him to help me understand what, if any, impact my blog has had in its 3 years of existence. After the first year, this site had been visited about 2000 times. After 2 years it was about 10,000 times and currently its over 50,000 with about 1000 views a week. When I told him I knew nothing about keywords, SEO and analytics, I could tell he knew I was clueless but he remembered some other good times and gave me his best explanation, not that it helped me. What he did help me understand is that I’m not doing this for marketing purposes and therefore I should just stop trying to be something I’m not. Sage advice from one of the few people I know who has a high degree of sagacity.
His advice made me realize something extremely critical. Big Data, analytics and marketing acumen will never replace the need for higher order content creation. I write because I’ve got something important to say and God gave me a unique ability to say it in ways that people all over the world can relate to and appreciate. How would I ever begin to quantify the joy I get from knowing my words have meaning for others? Would I like to reach a bigger audience? Maybe, but not if it means I spend more time on SEO than on thoughtful prose. Life is short and I never know if my next drive will be my last so sitting around worrying about analytics, metrics and keywords seems like a huge waste of my most precious commodity, time. So far, I have created 150 original pieces of writing and people from more than 125 countries have laughed, empathized and realized some universal truths that we all share as humans. Life is a journey that is best shared with friends and the family of man to which we all belong. To that end, I will keep writing to each and every unknown friend around the world just because it makes me happy to impart my thoughts as artfully as possible.
Those of you who share my singular way of looking at life would help me the most by continuing to tell your friends where to find me and by contacting me directly at (firstname.lastname@example.org) I want to hear from all those who are out there trying to make a difference and serving others. We can accomplish amazing things when we all take responsibility for sharing the joys of life, caring about each other no matter what our differences and leaving the planet better than we found it. Amen to that.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.