When an Email at 2:00 a.m Changes Everything

Sometimes, it’s a complete stranger that makes all the difference

Mitch Ditkoff

--

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

It was a bone cold night in February, four hours after my wife and kids had gone to bed, and I was sitting alone in my man cave, with nothing but a laptop, i-phone, and the painful recognition that even though I had written five books, created a successful company, and supported my family for 15 years, I had yet to accomplish a single meaningful thing in my life.

This is a feeling many writers know all too well, the moon howling moment of dread when they recognize that their early promise of genius had either not yet born fruit or the fruit they did manage to pick was rotting in a bowl of an unhungry stranger many miles away — the kind of feeling, I imagined, that was at least partially responsible for Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear, a man who had sold only a single painting his entire life, and to his brother, at that, a man he knew was buying mostly out of pity.

It was at precisely at this moment, too late to be early and too early to be late, that I just happened to glance down at my inbox and noticed an email coming in from someone I did not recognize, a man with very few vowels in his last name.

Clearly, this communication wasn’t from a friend of mine.

No. This was something from a stranger — a man, he explained, from Croatia, who had been reading my blog for the past five years and now that he had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and maybe had three or four months left to live, wanted me know that last night’s posting had touched him deeply in a way that filled his whole being with gratitude.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

An oasis the writing was for him, he explained — a place where he could rest and renew. He was writing to me at this late hour to thank me and request that, no matter what happened in my life, I continue making the effort to write… and that it mattered, at least to him.

I just sat there, stunned, my whole body shaking, tears of joy rolling down my cheeks.

Excerpted from this book
How Thomas Wolfe kept going
The Joy of Writing

--

--

Mitch Ditkoff

Co-Founder of Idea Champions, Face The Music & Sage Catalysts. Author of Storytelling for the Revolution, Storytelling at Work, Unspoken Word and Free the Genie