Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Spirit of Potential

By Rich

I think my 13-year-old daughter is being haunted by the spirit of my father. Not because her arms and legs move by themselves and she speaks in his gruff, no-nonsense voice -- although that's a great idea for a story which, by the way, I'm taking full credit for. I wonder if I can get Tom Hanks to play my father and a controversial young adult to play my teenage daughter. Hmm, do I still have Miley Cyrus' phone number?

I digress. My daughter is haunted by the spirit of my father the same way Scrooge McDuck was haunted by three Muppets in A Christmas Carol. I may have my comparisons wrong. It could be Charlie Brown haunted by three football ghosts and Dolly Madison cupcakes. Look that connection up in Google if you dare.

I digress again. In A Christmas Carol, the spirits visited Scrooge so he could see that his current life was empty and cold and could lead everyone down a future path of despair, especially that Tiny Tim bloke. At the end of the tale, Scrooge came to his senses, realized he had much to live for, and celebrated in the most capitalistic way by throwing money out of his window. In summary, old Ebenezer realized his full potential.

I believe this is why the spirit of my father haunts my daughter. Despite the two of them getting along like oil and water while he was still alive, he noticed her great potential. Now he's sticking around to make sure she doesn't bury it deep inside herself or hide it from everyone else. He wants her to use it to the best of her ability. And when she does, my father will leave and go haunt someone else -- probably the guy at the auto repair shop who charged him too much for an oil change before he died.

We writers are constantly haunted by the literal and figurative spirits of potential. We know what we want to write and get excited at the prospect of putting it all down in 12 point Times New Roman, yet something holds us back -- be it fear, hopelessness, or thoughts of failure. It's up to these spirits of potential to nudge us back onto the right path to get the final draft done on our short story or manuscript. The weight we feel when we type 'The End' is not mental -- it's the spirit patting us on our back and going on its merry way.

I hope that my daughter realizes her full potential soon, and I wish the spirit of potential visits you soon. Heck, it's better than having that faceless guy in the black robe stopping by to show you your bleak future.

When did the spirit of potential visit you?


Jenny said...

It still visits me, and thank goodness or I would have given up long ago. I am waiting for the Ghost of Future Publication to drop by this holiday season. Preferably without any clanking chains in the middle of the night.

Lynn said...

Oddly enough,I was visited by the Spirit of Potential in my previous career as a training coordinator. I interviewed a team of educators, found out their passions, then designed a 3-day training curriculum that brought out the best in each of them. I loved the design phase of my job - the up-front, dealing with people phase not so much. It occurred to me that writing a story uses all the skills/insights of designing a training, so I dabbled with it and Voila! I converted to writing.

Great post - just watched the Jim Carrey version of The Christmas Carol last night :)

Anonymous said...

If there were a lot more spirits who showed people how their lives could be improved, the world would be a better place. This was a good post.

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