Final Thoughts

I worked for Nordstrom for 24 years and had, I’ll humbly say, a remarkable career. But I got caught up in ego and hedonism, the glitz and glamour of fashion. I still remember the day after I retired,16 years ago. I was lolling around on my closet floor, wondering who I really was, when I decided to count my apparel items. 

At the time, I owned 111 suits, and even with a 35 percent discount, those suits were still ridiculously expensive. I owned over 300 neck ties, hundreds of pockets squares, and 74 pair of shoes, in the color brown, alone. 

I was disgusted with myself.

I now own precisely three suits, very dusty ones, and maybe four ties. I live in the boondocks instead of in a suburb of stucco mansions. 

And it’s so freeing. Losing all that brought me back to the guy who I really was, and am.

The guy I buried beneath a façade.

Have you ever experienced something similar? An epiphany, where you realize shedding material goods, or whatever, would be the catalyst for returning you to your true, authentic self?

Shedding weight is another way loss is a good thing, even an epic thing. Try digging deep into a character’s gluttony, then their fight to find a way out of those poor habits. Make it ugly and clumsy. Write the sloth, then the slick, the redemption. 

I like to think I’m a good friend, engaged, curious, an attentive listener, and I’ve only ever dumped four friends in my life. (each for different reasons.) It was very difficult to do, at the time, but afterward, it was so liberating not to have to listen to them gossip, or belittle the ones I love. It was both a loss and a gain of freedom. Has that ever happened to you? Write it out. Maybe center the break-up in a noisy bar, or else in a dead-quiet library. Or a café where everyone can hear everything.

Not all breakups are bad things. Leaving an abusive relationship, like overcoming addiction, takes massive bravery. In fact, it takes an average of 7 attempts for a survivor to leave their abuser and stay separated for good. Write about that 7th time, the impetus for it, what’s at stake, what the future holds?

Other ideas…write about a person who stops cutting themselves, write about a person who moves from quarrelsome neighbors, write about someone who figures out who to lose their stalker, write about how someone overcame their fear or heights, spiders, claustrophobia, clowns…

Okay, guys, this has been a real joy for me. Thanks so much for being here, and don’t forget, my contact info is there in the Day One materials. I am available to you anytime, even beyond this course.

Tonight, I will raise a toast to each of you. Cheers.