On Writing / The Social Network

Risk-Management

Disclaimer: Risk makes me twitch.

Some of us thrive on the razor’s edge — danger-seekers busy pushing the envelope, living outside the box, upping the ante, diving right in to the deep water. Others of us realize that razors and envelopes leave nasty cuts, and boxes, while flimsy, afford us at least a modicum of protection. Knowing when to fold ’em is smart, and there are many things in the ocean that can kill you, including the ocean. And it ought to go without saying, though I’ll say it anyway: the writers amongst us avoid cliché usage. Like the plague.

I manage risk by not taking many. Forget edgy. I conserve my ‘forever’ stamps, avoid paper cuts and send emails instead. I know I can’t take the pressure of gambling. I learned that years ago at a blackjack table in the Bahamas, warily pushing a $5 chip out there, feeling like I’d just bet the farm. (dang. another one!)  I don’t have to go in the ocean to experience its beauty, for pete’s sake! It remains just as lovely from the beachside. Right???

Alas! Like Jack, I am stuck in the box.

In this second half of 2013 (the irony of superstition in the number is not lost on me), I am thinking perhaps a bit of ‘edge’ is in order. I can hear Sheryl Crow singing in the background already…  In honor of the ‘change that will do me good,’ I probably ought to go out on a limb, stick my neck out, try my wings. I’m tellin’ ya, the cliché well is deep my friends.

Like a writer who won’t find her own voice and simply borrows the trite (but true?), the risk avoider in me cringes at the very possibility of sharp edges and cut feet. But the world in middle age is still full of possibilities and ‘oh, the places I’ll go!’ if I’ll just run the risk of sounding cliché:

YOLO, Yo.

But seriously. I’m thinking of taking my cue from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who you just know was a risk-taker, given his proclivity for the ‘individual’: “I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I’m not afraid of falling into my inkpot.”

It’s time for a new risk-management style. Even if I get splotched.

 

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