Writing always came naturally to me. Even as a child, I used to marvel at the way a great pen felt between my fingertips or the way the tip moved lovingly across a paper. Yes, I am old enough to remember actual longhand! Good writing, however, is a craft and does, in fact, need chiseling and perfecting. Like the woodworker who creates too massive pieces because his ego can not let him see the beauty in the minimal, I wielded words and beautiful phrasing with a heavy hand. I still remember pridefully submitting the beginning to the next great American novel and my high school Creative Writing teacher gently suggesting I needed to scale it down. It wasn't a "Use as many S.A.T. Words as Possible and Win a Prize" Award I was going for, after all. My ornate style didnt go away quickly. It followed me through my undergraduate and graduate careers. I was in a torrid love affair with words, rather than ideas. It colored my attempts at both creative and scholarly writing. I would half heartedly try to lasso my passion to please the professor, but honestly felt stifled as I did so. It wasn't until I genuinely felt the need to truly create a piece that documented my struggles with having a chronically mentally ill brother, where my mind quieted itself a bit. This was new. I was trying to illuminate the darkest and most confounding experience of my life. Easy, superfluous writing would not cut it. When we are truly inspired whether it be by a precise goal or by something a bit more spiritual, we will reach farther into ourselves. We will adapt some of that potential into tangible achievement. We will blaze through what is easy and mediocre and comes naturally to a greener, lusher pastures. We all have the ability to quiet ourselves and center. To reach for more.