“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
I am, by both propensity and profession, a writer.
D*mn, it felt good to type that … and for that, I owe thanks to Morgan Freeman. (Yes, the actor.) I thank him for reminding me that bad, good or indifferent, that is what I am. I should neither profane it nor profess it begrudgingly.
Freeman was on Oprah’s “Master Class” last night, one of her new shows on her OWN network. I have always liked Freeman. I remember him from The Electric Company. Rather humble beginnings for such an incredible performer … but there you have it. Unlike so many who hit it big, he remembers it, too.
I knew I would enjoy this interview; I just didn’t know how much. As a writer, I am, by nature, a storyteller. I love hearing other people’s stories and, for much of my life, have relished the opportunities I’ve had to share them with others in my own personalized way.
At one point, I could have sworn that Freeman was speaking directly to me. The introductory subtitles on some of his lessons, struck me that much.
· Nurture your natural gifts.
· Keep your principles.
· Follow your muse.
· Listen to others.
And I’m sure there were one or two others I found just as relevant but that are escaping me in my sleep-deprived state. But those were pretty awe-inspiring for me as they were each paired with some of his personal experiences. One of my favorite anecdotes from the interview was when he lost a job as a clerk/typist and, by virtue of being on unemployment, was obligated to go out and look for new work as a clerk/typist. During one of his meetings with an unemployment counselor, he explained that he just couldn’t justify continuing to seek work as a clerk typist. “I am an actor,” he boldly pronounced to Mrs. Lipton. (He even remembered her name.) She approved his extension with: “You’ve got six months. Go be an actor.”
And he did.
For everything in his life, every decision, opportunity or setback, Freeman attributes it to providence. He referred to a poem, Desiderata, -- Latin for “desired things” -- that I had never heard of, but that I now know I will never forget. (You really should go and read it. Trust me – it will be worth it.)
Something Freeman didn’t mention, and may not even know, though I bet he does, is that Max Ehrmann, the man who wrote that poem, seemed to have a hard time finding his own niche. “At age 40, Ehrmann left the business to write. At age 54, he wrote Desiderata, which achieved fame only after his death.” (Wikipedia)
It took about 45 years between the time the poem was written (1927) before it joined the mainstream. (1971-72). Makes me think all the harder that I need to decide what I want to be when I grow up … and go be it.