When I decided to launch this website, Henry David Thoreau had a talk with me. He reminded me of a time he had three pieces of limestone on his desk, and became “terrified” when he realized he had to dust them every day, so he “threw them out the window in disgust.”
His punch line was: “It’s best to avoid the beginning of evil.”
Thoreau is showing his sense of humor with some hyperbole, but his point is strong: consider the new objects and projects that you take on carefully, and think about the amount of work involved in maintaining them.
Metaphorically, Thoreau’s limestone represents any task or duty that demands our attention and work. As I say in Tao of Thoreau, when we start something new, we need to be “ready to bring the energy and focus required.” I thought about this a lot as I designed bozbozeman.com.
I’m launching this site at the end of the school year, which can be a stressful and exhausting time. For this blog to succeed, I need to produce and post content so people who like it will keep coming back. I need to find creative ways to promote it so that it grows. This is a lot of work; moreover, it is work that I will have to sustain for a long time for this site to become successful.
Then I realized something, so I said this back to Thoreau: “The limestone was decoration. You didn’t want to waste your time on something you didn’t have to. Writing is something I want to do. And with a website, other people can read my work, which has always been my goal.”
I didn’t see Lao-Tzu there until he said, “That’s right.” I looked at him, and he spoke in that calm voice, echoing with centuries of wisdom: “Do you work and step back. The only path to serenity.”
Thoreau didn’t have anything to say to that, so I guess I have avoided the beginning of evil.