Small Fish, Big Pond Thoughts


One tired evening this week, I picked up Thai food from a little hole in the wall near my home. While waiting for the order, I watched this huge goldfish lumbering around a tank that would have been more than adequate for the average sized goldfish but seemed woefully inadequate for this super-sized fellow. I thought to myself, Big Fish, Small Pond.

I feel much the opposite in my new authoring adventure.

I check in daily with my book’s Amazon page and marvel at the hundreds of thousands of books of every flavor, and that’s just ONE website. My humble little book just seems lost in this massiveness–truly a small fish in the Amazon pond. Yesterday, I spend the whole day driving around to little bookstores in the towns around me, fearing this could end up being a huge waste of time and money to get my “little fish” off the ground. And then this morning on NPR, Garrison Keillor was reading poetry from his new book–which sounds fantastic, by the way.

One reading struck me, an excerpt from his address to the Harvard Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008. It was quite reassuring, encouraging me out of my fear and into the space of hope and “it’s going to be okay-ness.” So I’m passing it along to you, lest you be doubting yourself today. About anything.

O brave young achievers, you have now achieved the pinnacle
And forgive me if it sounds cynical
But as we gather to celebrate ya and hail ya
It is time for you to think about the benefits of failya.
Failure is essential, a form of mortality.
Without failure, we have a poor sense of reality.
It is all well and good to strive for glory,
But today’s grievous mistake is tomorrow’s humorous story.
And one should not be a person whose memoirs consist
Of notes from the classes you never missed.

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