Thank You Mr. Walsh

One of the best friends I’ve ever had lost his father this month.

Death proved itself a slingshot, pulling me back through the decades to think about the few times I met his father and then catapulting me forward to question what I’m doing today.

Jay and I met at Emerson College. I was climbing the stairs in front of him and tripped. He laughed at me. For a split second I thought he was an asshole—and then realized that I would have laughed at me, too. The friendship started there. Lots of talking and philosophizing and listening to Dave Matthews during the school year and then summers full of letter writing. I still have his letters. He’s that kind of friend. A deep soul. Honest. Kind. Smart. Funny. Creative. One of my biggest regrets is that I failed as a friend on numerous occasions and then after college did a crap job of keeping in touch.

Then his father died and I realized how many decades had passed.

I met Jay’s father, Bob, on Cape Cod, where he and the rest of the family lived. Getting there from Boston was just a cheap Peter Pan bus ride away, so I jumped at the chance the times I was invited out there.

When I met Bob, I couldn’t stop smiling. He’s the guy who dressed up as Santa Claus at Christmas and could swing it without having to add a fake beard or redden his cheeks. He just had that natural happiness going for him. Endearing is the word that comes to mind as I type this.

The thing I remember most about him is that he lived out loud. He was a part of the world, not hiding from it. He loved his family and friends. He loved music. He loved to laugh. He was was there. He gave as good as he got.

The first time I met him, he and his wife were spending the weekend on the beach in their camper and Jay and I came along for the ride. Bonfires and laughter followed. At the time, I remember thinking, Life can’t get any better than this. This is what it’s all about.

And then I graduated and started working and got married and worked more and had kids and worked even more — and in the quest to do it all I lost a bit of myself. I lost that girl on the beach who could be made happy by little more than salt air and laughter.

I admire Bob even more now because I know that being happy and having friends and a close family isn’t something that comes easy, especially when you have a job and other responsibilities — yet it was evident how much he was loved and how much he loved those around him.

We talk about doing the work all the time on this site, in terms of writing books, opening businesses, being an entrepreneur, but there’s a piece that’s missing.

Doing the work involves connecting, loving, laughing, too. It involves living out loud. If you don’t know these things, how can you write about them or paint them or sing a song about them? Our greatest inspiration surrounds us.

I had a brief glimpse of Bob tapping into that world and saw the joy it brought him.

That girl on the beach is working on making a comeback. She has Bob as her North Star. What’s important isn’t the number of followers or fans. It’s what and who and how you create and love and live. It’s about living out loud.

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THE WAR OF ART

Read this one first.
It identifies the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage—that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.
Start here.
Everything else proceeds from this.

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DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

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NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

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31 Comments

  1. Mary Doyle on May 18, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Well said Callie! One of the gifts death gives to the living is the reminder that our time here does indeed have a limit. I lost a friend and colleague a few months ago – a man who also lived out loud – struck down at a time when a well-earned retirement with his wife was about to begin. Keep working on making that comeback! I think your post will inspire a lot of readers to do the same – thank you!

  2. Karen on May 18, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Thank you for this! I truly need to work on bringing a part of my former self back too.. it’s a balancing act at times.. but knowing who you are and living a true life – that’s what it’s all about!

  3. Justin Kownacki on May 18, 2018 at 6:20 am

    True. We overvalue the destinations and rarely enjoy the journeys. Cheers to getting back in sync with what really resonates.

  4. Roma on May 18, 2018 at 6:21 am

    👏👏👏👏🙂

  5. Lyn on May 18, 2018 at 6:34 am

    As I read your post, the tears started flowing. I’m not sad. Maybe the “live out loud” is simply an emotion that’s bigger than the body can handle. And that’s it, actually. You tapped into truth. Your words, your insight reached deep, deep into the core of being and my heart strings started playing. Thank you so much for this post. It’s priceless. Another layer of unconsciousness peels away. The moment that viewpoints shift, so does life. When you see differently, you do differently. Wonderful. Thanks again.

  6. Joe Jansen on May 18, 2018 at 6:36 am

    This is intimate. I wonder if it’s scary for you, being this authentic and open. Appreciate you.

    • Bill on May 18, 2018 at 8:10 am

      If it was scary it did not hinder her ability to convey the sentiment to us.

  7. Sandra on May 18, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Beautiful.

  8. Renita on May 18, 2018 at 6:44 am

    A really nicely written piece, Callie.
    The era of having a house on Cape Cod may be gone. My times of laughter with friends on the beach are gone. But the sound of waves 🌊 on the beach is eternal. Remembering these sensations is restorative.

  9. Evelyn on May 18, 2018 at 7:07 am

    What a lovely homage and reminder to focus on what is truly important. Thank you Callie. I recently made the decision to slow my writing schedule a bit this summer to spend more time with family and your post feels like a cheer for that decision.

  10. Bill on May 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Bob was a fortunate guy and knew it. What keeps us all from being like Bob?
    Can’t help thinking about the movie WHAT ABOUT BOB with Bill Murray.
    That Bob certainly lived out loud, maybe a little too much.

  11. Scott Attenborough on May 18, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Well said, Callie. I sometimes get so caught up in complexities of life I sometimes neglect living and loving the life that I’m in. Laughter, love, and adventure are all part of the work that we are called to do in life. Thank you for the reminder.

  12. Bob Zaslow on May 18, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Thank you, Callie-
    I love how you demonstrated the wisdom of living ‘out loud.’ Even the language and tenor of your piece has a loving, out-loud quality. Beautiful and profound reminder to live and love loudly.

  13. Gwen Abitz on May 18, 2018 at 8:20 am

    When I was reading all that you wrote, Callie; it immediately drew me to how I FELT when losing Maggie, My Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier on May 7, 2018. Maggie had turned 13 May 1, 2018. Maggie spoke “out loud” all right; not with her voice/bark but with her eyes. With each other’s eyes is how we immediately bonded when I picked her up from a Foster Care Home for the National Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Rescue when she was 5 months old. It took me a while when she started looking at me “with those eyes” and I kept asking her what are you telling me Maggie? Well I finally woke up when she stopped eating as Maggie lived to eat. Maggie’s body was no longer allowing her to live “the life” she needed to live and what she was telling me with THOSE EYES “Mommy let me go.” Maggie taught me the POWER of unconditional love. Maggie was the smartest person “aka” dog I ever knew. She was not only my 4-legged Companion. She was my buddy. My friend. My soul mate and always, always, always by my side. In SPIRIT Maggie spoke to me and said “don’t be sad Mommy I am happy where I AM. We had 12 1/2 WONDERFUL YEARS together. With the same eyes that bonded us
    Maggie departed to the lovely land where pets go when it is “their time” to leave this earth.

  14. Peter Axtell on May 18, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Callie, I really needed to hear this message today. Nicola and I are constantly lamenting the lack of friends, lack of finding people willing to make the effort to connect. Nicola is from Germany and while people are busy there, they take holidays and the world continues to turn. It might be an illusion but it seems there is a priority there to nurture friendship. In the US our experience is that everyone is working so hard to stay afloat the is seems as if friendship and community have taken a back sear.
    Your article helped me feel a little more connected today and reminds me that I have to make more of an effort on my side. Cheers, Peter

  15. Erik Dolson on May 18, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Callie, about the regrets: I can’t imagine Bob or Jay holding you responsible for losing touch. I do imagine each wearing a huge smile for the resurgence of girl on the beach. Regret is not her focus.

  16. Anonymous on May 18, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Beautiful, Callie! A heart-felt reminder. Thank you!!

  17. Beth Barany on May 18, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Thank you, Callie, for this reflection about Bob. I hope you do reconnect with that girl on the beach and bring her love of the simple joys of life back into your life. I’m sure you will.

    I so agree that we need to live out loud — go for it — and then bring that life back into our writing and the ways we help others.

    Thank you too for the reminder to reconnect with my vibrant in-the-moment self that loves to be with friends and family.

    My father passed away this January and his illness and death brought home for me the preciousness of life. He’d been such a vibrant man, so full of questions about life, almost right up until the end, even after his brain had been altered by stroke. I miss how he marveled at the local plants and knew when to pick them and what they could be used for. I miss his big singing voice. I miss his eager support for my fiction and that of my husband’s. And… I’m glad that his physical suffering is over. His memory and joys live in me now and all who loved him.

  18. Elise V Allan on May 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I loved this post. Thank you, Callie. And for me, as well as the living out loud with lovely people, it’s also about living the quietness,indulging the desire to go for a walk in the twilight, or to sit and listen to the birds singing in the morning. Either way, taking time to enjoy the magic in life.

  19. Maureen Anderson on May 18, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Many years ago I went on a date with a guy who told me the memory he most cherished of his late mother was falling asleep to the sound of her laughter. I couldn’t stop thinking about that. I didn’t know if I was going to be a mom, but I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be.

    She was my North Star. As Katie grew up, Darrell and I were struck by how much laughter there was in the house. Now? You could fill a restaurant in heaven with the most interesting people ever to have lived, and I’d still want to be at our table.

    Thanks for reminding me I have something to show for myself after all, Callie!

  20. Pamela Hodges on May 18, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Thank you Callie,
    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your feelings.
    Thank you for the reminder to live out loud, to laugh and love and be, where ever we are. With joy.
    xo
    Pamela

  21. donald some on May 18, 2018 at 9:58 am

    this is great,in Africa we are working,working,working,working and forgetting what leads to the meaningful life…..may God bless you for the piece.

  22. Amy Duncan on May 18, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Lovely! 💖

  23. Bing on May 18, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for a wonderful share.

  24. Wilcox on May 18, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Silence is golden especially walking on the beach reminiscent of a period of time when your thoughts of that moment brings you joy and will forever stay with you. I

  25. Rock K on May 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Lovely, Callie. Thanks for being real.

  26. Todd Cattell on May 18, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you Callie. Yes, “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go?” -Buddha

  27. Sue on May 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing and for the reminder to live out loud. Your story touched something inside and inspired me to dig a bit deeper to find my own version of the girl on the beach. Bob sounds like wonderful North Star; best wishes on your journey.

  28. Johanne Kieffer on May 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Wow…I live on the Cape, it’s a special place with some special people like Bob. We all need to be reminded: how we spend our time, our days, is our life. Thank you for sharing this.

  29. Anonymous on May 20, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Your story makes this Florida girl smile with joyful beach memories and the gift of our friendship. Both are forever.

    • Kitty Crenshaw on May 20, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Drat-the above was me-not Anonymous❣️

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