What Shape Is Your Dent?

October 6, 2017

(This is an excerpt from this week’s email.)

Do you know the Sting song, If You Love Someone, Set Them Free? I’ve thought about that song a lot over the years. Not so much because of the song, but because of what I once heard him say about it.

You’ll remember, his band The Police had a massive hit with Every Breath You Take. Big, big hit. Catchy tune. Horrible sentiment. The stalker vibe and obsessive control were woven into a total ear worm of a song. I remember hearing Sting talking about how he’d written it, recorded it, had it become a hit, and at some point, thought, “My God, what have I done?”

HIs later song “If You Love Someone Set Them Free” was deliberately designed, released, and promoted as a kind of antidote to “Every Breath You Take.”

Lesson: the art we choose to make matters; what we put out into the world matters.

I think about this a lot as I move closer to getting my current work out there. I don’t think that everything needs to be rainbows and unicorns. Some of what I’ve written is a tad eerie and dark (or so my first beta readers have said). But I really do think about how far I want to take things, and what I hope people come away with. What we do creates those ripples out into the world, some small, some large. If we’re lucky, we get to do what Steve Jobs said, and “put a dent in the universe.” (And may we all be so blessed with having such impact.)

I guess I’m thinking about what shape that dent will have.

Maybe I should create a T-shirt that says, “Tell me about your dent.”

Or, like last week, I could just plant potatoes.