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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Entrapment. By John von Daler

                    This summer the media has been filled with sports events: soccer, cycling, tennis. So much so in fact that the sports metaphor has again positioned itself as a plausible way to describe our lives. It leads us to believe that we can compete our way to brilliant and beautiful lives.

                I have trouble seeing any good reason for this, unless you think that our life, like most sports events, is made up of a few winners and lots and lots of losers. I am no great fan of holy competition. Build a better mousetrap, Old Ben used to say. My experience of competition is that the mousetrap gets more and more shabby as each entrepreneur cuts down his overhead. At home we deal daily with tradespeople and service providers who present us with ever-increasingly shoddy products and work. They vie only with each other to cheat us.
                As far as my own "mousetrap", my book, is concerned, I wonder if I am participating in a competition at all. Is my book better than anybody else's? Not really. But it is different. The only real competition to my writing has been myself. It took me ten years to put "Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude" together; I waited for it to fall into place in exactly the way that could satisfy my sense of purpose and proportion. That took some stern conversations between me and me; in itself that was the only competitive aspect of the project.
                Can I make a living writing that way? Probably not. But the process most certainly makes my mouse trap slam away with increasingly greater accuracy. Maybe I should realign my objectives: what I should be trying to do after all is not to build a better mousetrap, but to catch better mice... But then that is not a sports metaphor, is it?

See if you think I built a better mousetrap. 
Purchase my book:
"Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude"
by clicking on the picture.


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