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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Advice for Life

I friend of mine, George Colt, has been working on a book that will be published soon.  The book, a study of the deeply complex relationship between brothers, will fill a void in the market. George, a gifted wordsmith, will bring to the table his life experiences as a brother, son, and father.  His observations are bound to change the way we think about fraternal relationships, in a prose we will remember.  I expect to be the first person to go online and order the book. On the day the book hits bookstore shelves, I will have my finger poised and ready to push BUY.
About a year ago, George commented that he wishes he had saved many of the notes and letters his mother sent him over the years he was in college.  He joked that, if he had just taken her advice, he would have probably avoided some of life’s bumps.  We were remarking that texts, emails and tweets do not have the same longevity or weight of a letter delivered by a United States postal carrier.
I have reflected on that conversation more times than I can count.  Every time that I email my son -- then surrender to the impulse to tack on a line of advice -- I hear the sound of George’s nostalgic longing in my head.  
Last night, after my son's, Charles's, first day on the film set, I emailed a quick message in which I praised him and told him that I was proud of him. From our of nowhere,  I channeled the most concise and meaningful advice I have ever given.  I expect that it will be the best advice that I will ever give. 
Get out your pens.  Line up paper in your printers.  I will share it with you.  I can promise you that you will hear it from me many more times before I stop proselytizing.
Be humble, be grateful, be you.

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