In 1988 Nike launched their highly successful “Just Do It” campaign. I was 20 years old at the time, living alone, and far more interested in ‘just’ finding something to eat.
I’ve been writing songs, or poems, or whatever they are since I can remember. I’d love to have something profound or monumental to say. but in truth, I just like words. They’re the currency of meaning, like paper money wrapped around gem stones. Sometimes it’s dollars and rocks and sometimes higher denominations wrapping something precious, but they’re always fascinating.
Anyway, back in ’88 Nike was doing their thing and I was trying (and not too successfully) to do everyone else’s. I was on a quest for the how-to guide to becoming a poet. Even a decade before Google it was not hard to find people to tell you how to do stuff. I started getting annual copies of the Poet’s Market, bunches of self addressed stamped envelops, and started blindly submitting my poems. Over the course of a few years and few hundred rejections I actually managed to publish a few.
1988 is also the year I met the girl who was to become and still is my wife. A year later we were married and suddenly a studio apartment and ramen noodles weren’t going to cut it. I got my hands a second-hand PC and got good with it, quick. I’d done some programming in school on an Apple IIe. Back then the idea that it would lead to a career was unheard of, at least to me. Well it did.
I’ve made a bit of fun on my gaming site about the relationship between writing code and writing poems, but there is one. For a long time programming filled that role for me. As my career grew, so did my family. The submissions slowed and then stopped completely.
Fast forward to now: Anyone who’s raised a family can fill in the gaps. Our kids are almost all grown and beginning lives of their own. My career is something I have and not something I pursue.
I started writing mobile games as a way to make programming fun again. I then started a Twitter account to promote my games. The problem is I ran out of things to say right after, “please buy my game, it’s kind of fun”.
Then I thought It would be cool to try and fit a poem in their 140 character limit. So I did and I have been and I like it. And surprisingly so do some people on Twitter (more than are interested in my games 🙂 ) and more importantly so do my kids.
And here’s where we get back to Nike. 25 years later I’m not looking for anymore how-to guides. I know what I like and I’m just going to do it.