This morning, a Civil War era lawyer and poet kicked me in the pants from beyond the grave. Not literally, of course, but it sounds more interesting, right? I'd seen his quote "All glory comes from daring to begin" everywhere on the internet, from Tumblrs to Pinboards and those inspirational post-card images. I'd even tossed it around in my head a little, thought about buying a brightly colored poster of it to hang somewhere in my house. I loved the quote secretly, replaying it whenever I got excited about a new writing project or taking a chance. It's the tiny icon on the welcome screen of my computer. It's so small in fact, that if I didn't already know what it says, I wouldn't be able to read it.
Why hide something I claim to love so much, you ask? Why delegate the quote to such a small corner of my existence?
Because Eugene F. Ware, the man who wrote the poem "John Brown," from where the quote was taken, is a master of the Jedi mind trick.
When doing research to find out exactly where and who the quote came from, I stumbled upon details of Eugene Fitch "Ironquill" Ware's life. A captain in the Civil War. Homesteader in Iowa. Lawyer. Anti-Slavery supporter. Poet. Senator. Appointed to Comissioner by Pres. Roosevelt. This man was an expert at beginning. And beginning again. He wrote the poem to champion John Brown's efforts to end slavery. Brown wasn't successful, but he kept trying to make a difference in any way he could. So what kind of person would I be if I claimed that the quote and Eugene and John's lives were my inspiration?
"That pile of unfinished poems? I did it all for Ironquill."
"I dared to begin. Nobody said anything about finishing!"
"Who counts how many DIY projects actually get done? I'm sure I can buy some of this stuff on Etsy."
I'm not taking action, I'm making excuses. And subconsciously, I know I can do better. I know that I can write the story that I've been waiting for someone else to write for me. I can start the blog I've been desiging in my head. I can be the motivated, excited and disciplined self-starter who turns inspiration into results instead of regrets. Then I'll be more focused on the feeling of accomplishing things that are important to me than the gory first steps it takes to start. All glory comes from daring to begin, not just simply thinking about beginning or giving up in the middle. You have to do the work to get the rewards. My goal is make starting and continuing a habit. So one day I can hang the quote on a wall that gets a lot of sunshine and I'll know for sure that it belongs there.