‘Focus on the things that matter’: The power of direct message
The first time I spoke to Mark, I’d thought he might be a little drunk.
He was in his early thirties, with the most intense interest in his work.
I was about to meet him, I told him.
Mark was a writer in his late thirtysomething who had written a book about the history of the human race, and his job was to try to answer the questions that we ask about the human condition.
It was a big project, but Mark had also just written a bestselling book about it, The End of the Human Race, and was on the verge of writing his next book.
He seemed to have the ability to read people, to make connections, to connect people.
It didn’t feel right.
The idea that you were going to do this thing for 20 years that you didn’t even realise you wanted to do was just too much for me.
Mark is one of those rare writers who can turn his passion into something he’s proud of.
I remember talking to him after he’d finished writing The End, and he said, ‘I had this idea for a book.
But I couldn’t really explain it to you, because I’m so passionate about it.
It’s like I’m writing this thing that I’m very passionate about, and you’re thinking about how I can’t write it.’
He’s a writer who has a great deal of passion for what he does, and a great passion for the people he’s working with.
I went into the meeting expecting some kind of ‘I’m sorry, but I can only talk about this for 20 minutes’.
But he told me he wanted to make me feel comfortable and that he wanted me to be able to give me a sense of what his vision was.
It sounds like the kind of thing a professional talks to their client, but for me it felt like a friend asking for a favour.
He wasn’t saying he didn’t want to work with me, just that I should feel comfortable about it because I’d done so much work with him, and that I would be allowed to talk about it with him.
The fact that I had met Mark while I was writing The END, I was interested in it.
So I went up to him and said, I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years, and I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, so let me go over what you want to say, and then we can go over it.
And he said OK, and so I went over it, and we had a really good talk about what I was doing, and what I wanted to say to people who had seen it, because he wanted people to understand what was happening to me.
And then we talked about what we wanted to talk to people about.
He had just written the book, and if you didn, you might think he had been a complete jerk.
He’s very kind, very funny, very generous.
He really is.
He also has an extraordinary sense of humour, and this was a bit of a revelation for me, because it was not at all clear to me that what I’d been doing was being done in a way that was not respectful of my work.
He said to me, ‘Look, you are a great writer, and all I’m asking is that you respect me.
I don’t know why I’m doing this, but if I had done something that was disrespectful to you then I’d feel a lot worse about it.’
So, he said.
And I think I agreed with that.
I realised I was not going to get to talk a lot about this book, because Mark’s vision was not what I would want to hear from someone who was writing about it to me as a writer.
But when he talked about how he’d been working on The End for 20-odd years, I got this kind of really good sense of where he was coming from.
And that’s how it turned out.
He came to me with a book, a novel, about the end of the humans, and the human species, and how it had ended.
And the idea was that the end was inevitable.
We’d seen the last of them.
We saw them being driven to extinction by the pollution of space, the pollution and pollution, the lack of space in which to live, and by the loss of life and the death of those who weren’t there to see it happen.
The end was coming.
The book was going to tell the story of the end.
He wanted it to be about a man, a young man, who had gone on a journey, had gone through the process of writing The Ends, and came to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to be around much longer.
So he made this character who would come to a small town in the middle of nowhere, where there was no water, where it was completely dark, and where he would meet a