Why I Do It

I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.” Nikos Kazantzakis

I’m the type of person who jumps on an idea; pursues it with obsessive fervour. I brush nagging doubts aside as easily as I might a pesky fly. Naysayers beware. I have no time for reason or question when I’m in making-things-happen mode.

Still, in my quiet moments (rare as they may be) when lack of sleep is threatening to turn me into an unidentifiable shell of a person, a question plays in my mind like a recording: why are you doing this?

I enjoy seeing what I can do, pushing myself. I think I can make a positive difference in the world. Okay, so I’m naïve too.

Bottom line, I’m driven. There’s no point in doing things half way. I grew up with this lesson imprinted on my brain. I don’t know how to do it differently. And besides running headlong into everything is who I am.

I likely drive other people crazy. I feel bad about that. Really I do. But I can’t help it.

We are now two weeks away from the writers’ festival I founded and have organized since 2001. You’d think I’d know the process inside and out, understand the peaks and valleys and have mechanisms in place to cope. And if you think that way, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re wrong. Dead wrong.

Again, I’m exhausted. Again, I’m not sleeping. And when I eat, sugar in any form is my poison of choice. Chunks of chocolate and bags of jellybeans keep me going from one fix to the next. I know what you’re thinking. Addictive personality or what?

“It’s a f… writers festival,” a friend of mine says when I complain.

“But it has to be done well,” I say. “There are a ton of small bits that have to fall into place to pull it off.”

“Yah, yah,” she says. “It’ll work out.”

“I know that.” But I’m thinking: to make it look seamless takes one hell of a lot of fancy footwork and juggling. And worry. And obsessing.

So I’m back to the same question. Why do I do it? I’ve been thinking about this of late. Actually, I think about it every year. This time I’m writing down my thoughts.

Here goes: I love the camaraderie, sharing time with like-minded individuals, bringing something special to my community, meeting new people, discovering emerging authors, rediscovering established authors, opening doors for those pursuing artistic goals, creating something bigger than me. I love books, have since I was a child. I enjoy sharing that love. And I love the incredible support I get from my community. When I look around, my friends are always there, beside me.

Then again, it could be that I just like pushing people around. That’s my husband’s perspective.

Maybe it’s good to be this weary. It makes me stop and ponder. What I do fulfills me. That’s why I do it. Period.

And I’d be dancing a jig right now, revelling in sheer happiness except I’m feeling bushed. I’ll wait until the festival is over, look back, see how happy I was and utter those words that make grown men and everyone else around me shutter, “Next year, we’re going to….” 

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