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The Power of 'Pointless' Pursuits

Updated: Feb 4

There’s a scene in the 2011 film Bridesmaids, which I still think about sometimes to this day, but maybe not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

The scene is the one where the lead character Annie, decides to dust off her apron and bake a cupcake - just one cupcake!  - as a first, poignant foray back into her long-abandoned passion for cake-making.

It’s not necessarily the scene, per se, that’s interesting here, so much as it is my instinctive reaction to it, which was one of …. ‘what’s the point in that? All that effort for one tiny cake?’

I almost immediately pulled myself up on the thought, countering the presumed pointlessness, with a quizzical ‘well, why not?!’

Why shouldn’t two mouthfuls of pure, butter-icing bliss, be enough to justify two hours of hard sugar-working graft?

Why do we measure the ‘point’ of something, based on the extent to which its rewards can be reaped and revelled in?

The cupcake, of course, is a metaphor.

A metaphor, maybe, for the book that I've been busy 'baking' behind the scenes, and which I have resolved this year to publish into one, solitary copy!

To an outsider looking in, this project could be deemed self indulgent at best...senseless at worst. After all, so much of the satisfaction of 'accomplishment' lies in external validation, that it's often hard to quantify it by any other means.

In a bid to shake off this bias that exists in my thinking, I'm considering deeply the possibility that sometimes what seems 'pointless' in principle (maybe because it lacks the vanity metrics that many 'goals' have at their core), can actually be extremely powerful in practice.

To this end, I promptly contacted my trusty local printer, and requested a quote for one copy of a 260 page paper back book.

‘One copy?’ said the friendly salesman on the phone

‘Yes just one!’

‘Just one?’

‘Yep, just one!’

The confusion was palpable.

‘What’s the point?’ I could hear him thinking.

Having done away with the limiting idea that my 'Author' status should be based upon a publisher's validation, print runs and copies sold, I found myself suddenly in a unique position of control.

I have to be honest, it felt good. Granted, some might consider this one of the least credible ways of getting one's name into print. That it bypasses the 'win' of getting singled out from the wannabe-author masses.

However, I'm currently of the mindset that having just one self-published manuscript, doesn't makes me any less of an Author. Also, by eliminating the accolade aspect from it all, it becomes about something deeper.

Self-preservation, perhaps?

A legacy, maybe?

The deep, understated joy of reaping what you sow, even if all that happens to be, is a quiet, blissful moment of ‘I made that!'

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