On June 25, 2002, my forty-ninth birthday, I began to write a page every day. My intent was to chronicle my fiftieth year for two purposes. First, I wanted to see much I could change in the span of one year in order to feel happier upon reaching the half-century mark. Second, I wanted to document this process, under the belief, well more of an illusion, perhaps even a delusion, that my writing might be of some use, as a handbook of sorts, to others facing the same milestone. I thought my journal or diary would be engaging, funny, touching, poignant and meaningful to the point that it would be a best seller, freeing me from the bounds of corporate life, and thus catapult me into the world of letters and guest appearances on Dr. Phil and Oprah.
As with most of my endeavors, it has not worked out as I had planned. I expected my writing to be a cross of Craig Wilson, Bill Cosby, Susan Sontag and Dave Barry, a lofty ambition that did not quite materialize. My writing was too mundane at times and too introspective at others to ever warrant sharing it with others, unless I wanted to bore them silly.
Also, many of the goals I set on June 25, 2002 were only partially fulfilled. Instead of taking a century bike ride (100 miles), I rode fifty miles which, by the way, is the longest ride I have taken. Instead of getting a PhD, I began working on it again. I will not embarrass myself be relating the exact weight objective I set. Suffice it to say that my performance in this regard has been pitiful.
Yet, as with all of my endeavors, there have been unexpected benefits. In this case, this daily writing routine is so worthwhile that I plan to continue with it as long as I can. I had realized over the past several years, that my intellect had grown stagnant and that I was actually having difficulty expressing myself clearly. In writing everyday, I have found, or at least imagined which can be just as good, that I am more articulate, clear and fluent. I have found both speaking and writing to be easier than ever. Thankfully, instead of being on the road to senility, I was just losing what I was not using. Upon exercising the mind everyday, surprise, surprise, it began to work better.
So, after this extensive preamble, why am I launching this e-Letter? I have been wondering for months what to do with my writing. While all of it is not worth sharing, some of it is. The few pieces that I have submitted to the Armenian newspapers or e-mailed to friends and family were well received. This e-Letter is simply a vehicle to share my writing with friends and family.
The idea of an e-Letter came to me in an e-mail I received with three attachments in early January of this year. Through this e-mails and attachments, I was introduced to Aram Jack Kevorkian who passed away on December 20, 2003 at the age of 74, just a few days shy of his 75th birthday which would have been on New Year’s Eve. Aram Kevorkian was an amazing person. I learned about him from the attachments. One was a one page announcement of his passing and a remembrance by his daughter Corinne. The second was a most touching eulogy by his older brother Andrew. I learned that Aram was brilliant, a passionate Armenian, a lawyer educated at Penn and Harvard, a long time resident of Paris, William Saroyan’s lawyer and friend, and he wrote a monthly Newsletter which he began writing at the age of 50. “The Kevorkian Newsletter” was sub-titled “A Legal Newsletter from France.” The Newsletter became something much more than the initial issues which dealt with changes in France’s Customs Laws in 1978. They became a window into the soul, mind and passions of Aram Jack Kevorkian. By the time I finished the third attachment, the Christmas 2002 Newsletter, I was inspired and knew exactly what I would like to do with my writing. Once a month, I would take the best of what I wrote that month and publish it in the form of an e-Letter. I would send it to my family and friends.
In that Christmas 2002 Newsletter, Aram Kevorkian contemplated his own passing. It was beautifully written and moving. It was bit a haunting reading it and learning of this great man only after his passing. It did not escape my attention that he started his Newsletter at the age of 50 and that we shared a passion for the great Irish Poet William Butler Yeats.
What is the intent of my e-Letter? I imagine it will be a window into my heart and soul. In a year and a half, I have written on religion, Christianity, Islam and others. I have written on Quality, the war in Iraq, life, love, death, corporate life and death, and too often about the frustrations of trying to be a better and leaner me.
First, let’s see if I can do this more than one month in a row! If I do, feel free to e-mail me back with your thoughts, recommendations and reactions even if only to ask to be removed from the mailing list.
I will end this first e-Letter by asking God, as we say in Armenian, to enlighten the soul of Aram Jack Kevorkian 1928 – 2003.