“The best writers reveal something about themselves that a smarter person would choose to hide.”
“Don’t wait to be inspired—work to be inspired.”
Sitting beside the walls of the café in the Literati Bookstore felt like reading a book that I never wanted to put down. The walls are filled with quotes from professors and writers, and each and every quote spoke to the fears, questions, doubts, and hopes that I feel each time I sit before a blank piece of paper. In that quaint and intimate setting, looking over the streets of downtown Ann Arbor, in a room of so many smiling and curious people, I could not help but feel inspired.
Phil Deloria had me from the moment he told us that at first, he did not want to be a writer because his father was a writer. Right then, my ears perked up, and I was ready to listen to anything and everything he had to say. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to blaze my own trail: my parents grew up in Long Island, I grew up in Long Island; my parents went to Michigan, I go to Michigan; my dad studied abroad in Spain for a semester, I am studying abroad in Spain next semester; my parents went to law school; I am doing anything and everything to remind myself that I have no interesting in becoming a lawyer. But sometimes, while trying to convince myself that I am not a robot clone—living a life that has been lived before by my parents, uncles, and second cousins—I remind myself that it is not about blazing your own trail; it is about blazing your trail. Becoming a writer does not mean that Phil Deloria is following in his father’s footsteps; it only means that he is following his own desires, and that he is strong enough to put aside his pride and stubbornness, and his fear of becoming his father, and just be who he wants to be.
In my work for the minor so far, I have been drawn to the idea that we must make the most of each moment, and refuse to let a moment pass you by. It was almost like Deloria was speaking to me, when he said, “To get ideas, you need to move through the world with one-hundred-percent attention…Grab that little weird thing…the first step is to see stuff; the second is to not let it pass you by.” Everything he said about moments is everything I have been trying to say, and it is the reason why I write. I write to hold on to moments; I always try to grab those little weird things and tear them apart with thoughts and words alike, until there is nothing left to say. If you do not write it down, you could lose it forever.
My favorite thing that he talked about, however, was his idea about “the life” and the idea of life as a spa. He discussed how sometimes, in times of pure bliss and relaxation, like at a spa, you think to yourself “this is the life.” Deloria looked at the audience, and said, “drop the ‘the’; Just say, ‘this is life.’” This blissful, relaxing spa-like life should just be the life that we all strive to live every day. We need to take advantage of life’s small moments and simple pleasures. Make the life your life.