It's no picnic establishing a start-up company, particularly one in an industry like publishing that is severely disrupted and where the sustainable way ahead is far from clear. You really have to love, or at least find some joy, in what you are doing in order to weather the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' with some semblance of equilibrium. When I feel I may be about to panic about something I have to remind myself, and sometimes retreat back into, what I love most of all to do. For me that's reading and writing - hence this post you are, with any luck, reading right now.
Dr Seuss' recent birthday served as another reminder to me of the joy I glean from both of these pursuits. My Dad, Keith, was a fan and I'm still a bit fuzzy about who enjoyed those bed time reads more - him or my sisters and I. Being a Methodist through and through, it's no surprise that Dad enjoyed Dr Suess' 'parable' books the most - The Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, The Sneeches and my personal favourite, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sellew. The latter asserted itself in my memory quite clearly when I was pondering Dr Suess' legacy. Because I cannot ascertain any logical reason, apart from childhood sentimentality, why this should be, I can only assume it's a message from my dear Dad in heaven on the importance of facing one's difficulties head on and endeavouring with one's heart and soul to find some enjoyment in the journey to wherever it is one is attempting to go. After all, if change is the only constant in life, we are all constantly on a journey. It seems a pity not to enjoy the ride because it maybe all we have.
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sellew is a 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' tale. Our furry little protagonist is beset with troubles in his native habitat - rocks on which he stubs his toe, birds and insects trying to attack him from above and behind. He's holding them all off when a chap on a 'One-Wheeler Wubble' rides by and entreats him to embark on a journey to the legendary "City of Solla Sellew on the banks of the beautiful River Wah-Hoo, where they never have troubles! At least, very few."
Well, the journey starts off well enough but the road is paved with seemingly endless obstacles - a sick camel than can no longer pull the One-Wheeler Wubble; the cancellation of the 4.42pm bus service to Solla Sellew due to punctured tyres; unwitting recruitment into an army going into battle against what turns out to be a legion of "Perlious Poozers of Pomplemoose Pass". Imagine our furry friend's delight when, after spending days in tunnel filled with birds (yes, you read that right) he emerges through a trap door to find himself on the banks of beautiful river Wah-Hoo, a short walk from the door to the glittering city of Solla Sellew "where they never have troubles, at least very few". Well, just a tiny one, really.
There is only one door into the city and a Key-Slapping Slippard has moved into the key hole so the Doorman cannot unlock the entrance. Furthermore, the Doorman reliably informs us that it is very bad luck to do away with a Slippard, and as he bids a fond farewell, he informs our young friend that he is headed to the city of "Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful River Woo-Wall, where they never have troubles. No troubles at all"! Instead of accepting the Doorman's invitation to accompany him in a bid to be rid of troubles forever, our furry pal "does some quick thinking inside of my head". He decides to return home in full knowledge that he may sometimes stub his toe or get pecked or stung. But he's bought himself a bat in preparation for his return and now "My troubles are going to have troubles with me".
Far be it from me to encourage any of you dear readers to resort to violence, but sometimes speaking quietly and carrying a big stick is all you need. In any case, I've never been on a journey, metaphorical or otherwise, that didn't present at least a few hitches. In the main, though, travelling is fun and more often than not, instructive. It is more than possible to experience joy when one is on a journey, even if it's only to be found in the comfort of perpetual motion.