Joe Posnanski is one of the best sports writers in the business today. He was, at one time, at the Kansas City Star, but is now working for Sports Illustrated. His articles come up on my feed reader regularly and I always anticipate what he has to say.
One of the most recent posts by Posnanski is on the passing of Nick Charles, a sportscaster for CNN. I heard the news over the weekend, but I had no idea who he was since I usually don't have cable or satellite TV and, if I did, I probably wouldn't get my sports from CNN.
So I read Posnanski's article primarily because he is usually good, but secondly, I read it to be introduced to Nick Charles and why his life made the news. I am so glad I did, because I found the words for something that I have been having trouble explaining.
My recent layoff caused me to think about my life and work and why I do things and what things are worth doing. I have always known that I liked to write, but I would not have had an easy time explaining why. "Why do you want to write?" somebody might say. Or, "What would would you like to write about?" is another version. Nick Charles provided the answer during his interview with Joe Posnanski.
Posnanski went to see Charles because Charles was dying and both men knew it. As their time together was ending and Posnanski was headed for the car, they had this exchange:
Nick: "Do you know what you're going to write about me?"
Joe: "No, not yet."
Nick: "Will the words just come to you?"
Joe: "I don't know. I hope so."
Nick: "I'll bet they will. I love it when words come to me."
And there it was - "I love it when words come to me." That's why I write. I want to say something, to feel something. I want the reader to feel something, to imagine something, to connect with what I've written. Not for my sake; not because I wrote it, but because, in sharing the written word, maybe we'll experience an affirmation of a previously unspoken certainty.
Like I did when I read Charles' statement.
I recommend that you read Posnanski's article, even if sports isn't your thing. But be ready feel something - the words came.