The Alchemy of Success

We all have an ultimate purpose… and if we figure out that purpose and go about the business of integrating it into our lives, eating from it, breathing from it, learning from it, and then teaching from it… we have turned straw into gold. We are all Rumplestiltskin… imparted with something magical we can give the world.

But how do we realize that magic, make it come alive? Well, I’ll explain using the best tool I have… words.

I am a literary alchemist. I use the building blocks of language, words, in a way that spins, twists, turns, and morphs them into expressions of thought that just don’t convey a message but give you a glimpse into my very being and leave you with a new way of thinking about things… whether you agree or disagree. I’m not working to turn base metals to gold, but words into wine.

“…poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry.”- Virginia Woolf

The interesting thing is, as a kid, I wrote all of the time. I embraced my creativity like a Baby Alive doll… I fed it and watched it defecate colorful blobs on paper… poems, short stories, plays, and even rooms I designed from cut out furniture, outfits I designed for my Barbie dolls, and abstract paintings. One was literally red watercolor on a white piece of copy paper entitled… Scarlett. I thought I was Bob Ross meets Ernie Barnes of the abstract world. I could see all the drama of Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Pearl in my swirls of crimson, pink, watermelon, and ruby. But then, at some point, I stopped dreaming in color and instead began to see things in more scientific and mathematic black and white. Organic chemistry became my life, and writing just didn’t help me understand the Cs, Os, and connecting lines in the shapes of polyhedrons. Needless to say that didn’t last long.

But as God, the source of our purpose, would have it, the tides changed and law school happened. And legal writing is some of most creative of all… I mean have you ever read a law or a judges opinion? It’s syntax, grammar, structure, drama, and humor all wrapped up in one. Supreme Court Justice Scalia was the legal Shakespeare. I mean come on:

“…like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys…” -Justice Antonio Scalia, Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District

That is Chaucer and Shakespeare, Poe and Langston, Morrison and Stephen King all wrapped up in the annals of legal history. I found a new home in legal writing for my creativity… and soon that would become this blog.

This blog…

I was asked how I come up with this stuff… because my wordplay and use of language skills and tools is precise and really just dope AF if I do say so myself. The simple answer is, I don’t. These words don’t start from me, I start from the words. Often something happens to me or those around me, I read something, or I get inspiration through action… and usually one of the passages in the blog comes to me. Let me explain:

My last blog started with a Facebook conversation, and as I was debating with my fellow FB intellectuals, a few of the gentlemen were talking, as they say, out of the side of their necks, about women covering when breast feeding. First, I had a goal to use my blog to say everything I wanted to convey about how ridiculous I felt they sounded and to educate these brothas how they were using tools of the master to further oppress their women. Then, a word came to mind : eunuchs.

Eunuchs pronounced yoo-nicks, are castrated men. That word swirled around in Wernicke’s area in my temporal lobe until it formed a vision in my occipital lobe… and what I envisioned was a man reading my blog with the same look of twisted disgust I had on my face when I had read some of their words. “You niggas got us twisted,” I thought, and my basal ganglia and motor cortex instructed me to move my fingers to type that out. Then to quickly backspace… as my neurons fired, and my left brain and right brain worked simultaneously. I could feel myself in a mental pull and tug, words flying around, wild and unruly, free and without barriers, until my fingers typed out “Eunuchs got us Twisted” as title…

-a play on words… eunuchs (again too-nicks) instead of “you niggas” but a veritable homophone.

-an incorporation of the idea that these men were using the same principals that once oppressed them to oppress women paired with my disagreement.

-an expression of my disdain at the thought that some men feel empowered by requiring pious behavior of women based on their sexualization of everything female.

-the first words that set out the meaning of the blog in just four words.

I had bridled those words with brevity, communication, and context, taking on their freedom and wildness to express myself in my purest and most spiritually powerful form. Those words deposited small parts of me like breadcrumbs to my soul on your screen. I am often tired after I write. I need a break, a few minutes to regain my strength. Yet I am fulfilled beyond words.

My brow is sweaty.

I have deposited all my energy into the act.

I have given my all to you.

Writing is like sex.” -Virginia Woolf.

Our purpose shouldn’t always be easy, but it should always be worth it. The key is to make that purpose your ministry, your raisin d’être. It should consume you, and then give you the opportunity to pour your treasure into others. It should exhaust you, but then fill you up again. It should take you through a series of twists, turns, emotions, actions, and reactions… until you can see your seed grow and flower. You have found your purpose when you can turn your most simple tool of the trade into pure magic… and that is the alchemy of success.

Now take off…

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