The End Justifies the Means

I don’t promote outright illegal or corrupt actions to reach a desired result. However, as a writer and musician, I have learned that sometimes the means to reach an end result may not be pretty, or in some people’s minds, morally right.

I recently wrote some poetry about my misspent youth. It was filled with details of drinking, drug use, and lurid sexual affairs. I didn’t set out in my 20s to do stupid stuff so I could get some good stories in my 40s and 50s, but that has become the end result. And although I used to regret some of the foolish things I did as a younger man, after writing about those times, I no longer have that regret. That in itself is a good end. The writing led to closure.

Let’s not stop there. Experience is the writer’s friend. I may have lots of stories to tell because I lived a bit of a wild and unruly life when I was young, but those stories will get old, used up. So would I do it again? Ten, five, maybe even two years ago, the answer would have been an emphatic NO. Now, I’m not so sure. Maybe, Bukowski was onto something.

I’ve continued to have plenty of life experiences to write about: marriage, divorce, living with someone with a mental health disorder, raising a kid as a single parent, and traveling.

But as I get older, as long as I’m not committing felonies or hurting other people, perhaps the end does justify the means. For a good story, I might consider moving to Memphis or New Orleans, frequenting the bars, smoking marijuana, and checking out some strip clubs. Or maybe, I’ll drive 140mph on a deserted road at night, parachute from an airplane, or sleep in a homeless camp just to see how it feels.

For the sake of the story, and just to spice up life a little, perhaps, the end does justify the means. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.