He’s Dropped the Easiest of Marks (or, The Trouble With Being Average).

By Austin P. Sheehan


In the recent AFL Grand Final, a player dropped a mark.  And the commentator announced “he’s dropped the easiest of marks.”  It’s been bugging me ever since.

This is the Grand Final.  The Big Dance.  The culmination of a gruelling pre-season, a winter’s worth of Home and Away games and an incredible month of finals football.  The entire year has been preparing for this game, and the chance to win a flag is something all players have dreamt of for decades.  Every kick, every mark, every handball will contribute to the outcome of the game, will decide if you’ll leave elated or heartbroken.  With all that pressure, nothing is easy.  I probably couldn’t have tied up my bootlaces without losing my breakfast.

People say writing is easy.  People say art is easy.  People say writing blogs is easy.  I think that saying something is easy is easy.

We don’t know the struggles other people are going through.  We don’t know how much they sacrificed and how much they struggled, getting through University, getting their work to a place that they’re happy with, how scared they might be of sharing their work, let alone submitting it for fear of rejection or criticism.  Some people even struggle to get out of bed.

For me, even deciding to start writing was a hard one.  For twenty years I’ve been an avid reader, losing myself in the works of some of the greatest authors.  Like Le Guin whose words flow like poetry, simple and beautiful, yet cutting to the core of the deep questions.  Like Donaldson and Herbert, who built incredibly vivid worlds, inhabiting them with wondrous species with their own rich histories, mythologies, creeds and customs.  Like Dick and Burgess whose intellect, linguistic skills, creativity and imagination are out if this world.  How could I even try, with the benchmark so impossibly high?  How could I hope to write anything comparable to the works of those incredible gifted people?  I couldn’t, so I didn’t.

What I write is nothing like that of my literary idols.  I always wanted it to be, though.  I always wanted my writing to be as eloquent, as powerful, as funny and as beautiful as theirs.  But it isn’t.  It’s the story if my life, to some extent.  I’ve always wanted to be better-looking, to be stronger, to be better at sport, at art, at languages.  I never even liked my own name as a kid.  But as I’ve grown up I’ve started to appreciate myself more.  I even chose to keep Austin as my pen-name, when it would have been the easiest thing in the world to use something else.  And I’ve accepted that even though my writing isn’t awe-inspiring like that of my heroes, that doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.

Thanks for reading.

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