You Have What You Need

The other day I was being interviewed for the “The Entrepreneur Way” podcast, talking about my forthcoming book The Recipe. Among the many excellent questions my host, Neil Ball, asked me was this one: “What is your favorite quote?” Hmm. What was my favorite quote? Did I have one? And what bubbled up from the murky recesses of my brain was this, from Raymond Chandler’s iconic Philip Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely: “I needed a drink, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country, I needed a lot of life insurance. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.” We both had a good laugh at that, and then I set about to explain myself, or try to, anyway. The truth was, I wasn’t sure exactly why that surfaced as my favorite quote. It was more than three years ago that I read the book. But there it was. After the podcast, I pondered it some more. It made me think about how unqualified I am to be a writer. That isn’t some sort of false modesty. It’s a serious thought that often pops into my mind, and always prompts a bit of internal dialogue when it does. The fact is, I never really intended to be a writer, and I certainly never gave myself the kind of education that an aspiring writer ought to have. Sometimes I am flabbergasted by the sheer volume of reading I haven’t done, all the great books whose covers I’ve never cracked. I have read no Dostoyevsky, no Tolstoy, no Solzhenitsyn,...