Day 35: Andrew Suzuki

 

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(Note: Andrew Suzuki is a documentary film maker from Australia, but is more or less a citizen of the world. I had the good fortune to meet him last November in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.)

Me and Andrew Suzuki, one of those random camino moments when everything lines up perfectly.

Me and Andrew Suzuki, one of those random camino moments when everything lines up perfectly.

Dear Andrew,

So there we were having dinner just a few hours after a completely random, happenstance meeting earlier that day halfway across the world … the conversation flowed here and there, as did a bit of Spanish wine, we shared some laughs, a few deep thoughts, then out you came with an idea that makes more sense than anything I’ve heard in a long time. It took me aback, quite frankly.

Simple, yet brilliant. Creative clarity. From the standpoint of journalistic entrepreneurship, it may be the most profound thing I’ve ever heard. Someone suggested this idea to you, and now you have me rethinking everything.

“If you’re going to invest a good part of your soul, your time, and your resources into one project, you might as well create two things from it.”

Thank you for teaching me the Double-Bang Theory. Now why hadn’t I thought of that?

***

I was camino starstruck from the moment you walked into the bar that morning. “Should I talk to him? Should I say something? It will be so humiliating if he blows me off …” I know it’s silly, but it’s true. I’ve been a fan of your creative work for a long time.

But it was almost like old friends from the first moment. Isn’t it both amazing and wonderful how the camino bridges such gaps for us? Thank you for joining us at our table that morning, and for making me feel so special.

To be quite serious for a moment, your work is amazing. Both series, Beyond the Way and Don’t Stop Walking are more than just timely and familiar subject matter. They are some of the most thoughtful creative works of art I’ve seen. I don’t say that to many folks, but you and Annie O’Neil (Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago and Phil’s Camino) have been positive influences in my own creative aspirations.

But you bring something different to the table, you scoundrel.

Andrew was the fourth recipient of our five Phil's Camino patches provided by Annie O'Neil.

Andrew was the fourth recipient of our five Phil’s Camino patches provided by Annie O’Neil.

This blend of genuine love and ornery irreverence you have for pilgrimage produces a creative tension as I’ve never seen. In certain moments I don’t know whether to give you a hug or a piece of my mind. Seriously.

But that, my friend, is a trademark of some extraordinary creative storytelling.

I come back to this quote repeatedly as I think about the work we both pursue and I share it frequently. The great Southern author Pat Conroy said, “The most powerful words in the English language are, “…tell me a story.'”

Thank you for entertaining me and for educating me. Thank you for your gracious manner and for sharing a cup of cafe con leche with us that morning, and dinner that night.

And thank you for teaching me that if I’m pouring everything I have into one thing, there might as well be two things.

Don’t tell anyone, and just between you and me, but I’m doing that very thing right now.

Keep telling the story, my friend.

Your fan and admirer,

Steve Watkins

 

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