Monday, February 3, 2014

Rites Of Passage

I find rites of passage interesting, mostly because some are incredibly stupid, and others are perfectly legitimate, but most people see them equally. 

Most people think of a rite of passage as marking a change in a person, often from being a child into being an adult, but those are the ones that tend to be more useless. Most people can't define what an adult is, what it means to be one, or how a given rite of passage makes somebody into an adult. 

I see a rite of passage in a more natural sense. What it really means is that you have gone from having never done something before to having done it. Doing new things changes you. It gives you the knowledge of experience, which is absolutely impossible to have without actually doing the thing. Whether it be shaving or building a birdhouse or cooking a meal (or absolutely any other activity), there is something special about having done it for the first time. I don't think it necessarily makes you a better person or more of an afult, but it gives you a perspective on the world that you didn't have before. 

When somebody tells you how they want to be a writer because it's the easiest job in the world, you can't help but laugh at them. They simply don't know. They can't know. They haven't been through it yet. Take them through the process give them the rite of passage into authorship. Show them what is involved in the process, and then let them reconsider how easy it seems. 

A rite of passage allows you to have the knowing smile. And sometimes that is reward enough. 

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