I don’t have time to write. (Translated: I’d rather watch the George Zimmerman trial.)
I’m not sure I can do it. (Translated:I have a thin skin.)
I’ll get around to it someday. (Reality: Someday never comes.)
But here is something different, a humanitarian excuse. It is from a male nurse in a hospital, a fellow of substantial wit and creativity. He entertains patients with his outsized personality. When a friend I was visiting told him I am a writer, he said, “Oh, I have a book, in my head.”
You will not be surprised to learn that I have run across more than five million people (give or take a few) who have books in their heads, or think they do. My usual response is, “That’s great.” My usual thought, unexpressed, is “Good luck, Charley,” or “Good luck, Charlene.” This fellow, however, lights up a room, and possibly can light up a library. Except that like almost everyone else, he has developed his own roadblock to writing success.
He revealed to us not the plot of his story but one of its key episodes. This involves a very creative terrorist attack on a major American city. “But I can’t write it,” he said. “Why not?” I asked. “Because if I do, I’ll give terrorists an idea they haven’t thought of before.”
And so you see, this is indeed a first. A man who selflessly decides he will not pursue a spot on the bestseller list because by not writing he is saving America from terrorism.
Noble, wouldn’t you say?