A Few Changes in The Wisdom Letters


I’ll apologize for the length or of this entry right here at the start.  I am something of a storyteller by nature, and this page, and the idea of the Wisdom Letters has evolved a great deal. So when I am talking about some changes in what I do here at The Wisdom Letters, I feel like you deserve some back ground and explanations, not just a few lines saying “this is what is changing.”

Don’t feel obligated to read it all. But I find that most of my readers are thoughtful people and like the background and openness of how I got to where I have gotten. So, if you are like me, interested in people’s stories and how those stories have influenced people’s lives, work and personal ministries, then read on.

Some of you already know that the original Wisdom Letters was a gift, given to me at a time when I needed it the most.  I was in a bad place. I could not seem to write. For years poems, short stories, essays and articles had come easily to me, but suddenly, I could not seem to produce anything of any value (or at least of any value to me,.).  This went beyond mere “writer’s block”, which generally lasts a day or few, and had gone on for months.

Those who know me well know that writing is not something I do. It is what I am. So not being able to write was a terrible burden to me. It was as if part of me, maybe the biggest part, had vanished and I felt lost, miserable, frustrated and very, very down on myself.

I had a friend who I had known since Graduate School, who took it on himself to help break me out of my funk in a creative way. Pouring through many years of letters and e-mails, he collated and created a small book he called “The Atkins Compendium” to show me that I had been writing all along, whether I knew it or not.

You see, I write letters. In today’s world of tweets and short little Facebook posts, I write long rambling letters and e-mails to those who listen and respond. I’ve done this since college. I fill the letters less with news than thoughts, ideas, things I am working out in my own head, and I use everything from simple prose to poetry to fictional blurbs in my letters.

And my friend wanted me to realize my letters mattered. I’m was very appreciative, but I wasn’t sure that they mattered to anyone but him. Then an odd thing happened.

People began to read….

I told people about my friend’s gift, and people asked to read it. They asked for copies. They wrote me letters and e-mails saying how much they had gotten from it, how it had touched them, how this section of that section helped them deal with things in their own life.

One reader suggested that I call it “The Wisdom Letters” and the name stuck. On the suggestion of another friend, I created an e-book out of the thing before there was even a word for e-book and literally thousands of them got downloaded from my web site. (You can still download it as a free PDF or cheap download for your e-reader here.)

Life gets complicated.

For those of you who don’t know, here at Quarry House, I do several things:

  • I act as a consultant/project manager for clients who are developing media facilities in broadcast, AV and Media Centric IT.
  • I help companies, primarily in the media technology world, market more effectively.
  • I provide a variety of business consulting services, helping clients revamp processes, create the corporate culture they want, simplify and unify what they do into a more coherent, effective whole.
  • I write, photograph, create art, teach, preach, and at times, act as a personal coach for a very exclusive group of people.

Following the lead of others, this has meant different newsletters, blogs and social media for each group. That’s what marketing mavens say to do – create lots of outlets so you appear all over the Search Engine world. And I did it, and a lot of people have read my various blogs, magazine articles, and other media/marketing outlets. In that way, it worked beautifully.

But the thing is, at my heart, I believe in the power of simplicity. All that writing takes time, is complex to keep going, and frankly, didn’t do what I think makes me, and Quarry House unique and powerful. So over the past few months, I have been asking myself the same questions I often ask clients, How I tie all these things together? How do I simplify Quarry House, still offer the variety of services I offer, and bring the full power of what sets me apart from a zillion others doing other things.

This is fairly easy to do in a web site, I discovered. And it’s not hard to do in conversation. But when writing an essay, trying to stay focused on a single topic, and making that topic have value to each of my client groups….. That has proven difficult. Because simplicity, EFFECTIVE Simplicity, is not easy. That is the lesson I have learned serving my clients, and I wanted to put it to work for myself as well.

This blog, and changed in my newsletters as of this month, are my first real attempt to pull this off. Starting this month, and going forward, I will no longer have a separate newsletter for my technical clients, my business clients and my Life Lesson clients and patrons.

Instead I will try to create something unique:  essays and a newsletter that will deal with thoughts and issues that tie together life and work in a way that, if I am right, will not only help you do what you do a little better, but will broaden your own thoughts and give you some new ideas to chew on, no matter which one of my client or reader groups you come from.  Most of my other essay blogs are going away. And my 3 newsletters are becoming one.

As far as I can tell, there isn’t anything like this “out there” in the vast blogosphere. And it won’t be for everyone. If you read a couple of these, and it’s not for you, it’s OK to go away.

But if it IS something you get value from, I’d love a note or comment. Even more, I’d love it if you told others and added them to our family of readers and thoughtful people.

I say it often, and I will say it again. I am crazy grateful for each of my clients and readers. Some of you have become friends as well and a real blessing to me.. I appreciate your trust, your comments, your friendship and your support.

 Where is this Going? 

I am often told that I should write another book.. In time, perhaps it will turn into a book. I do have themes that tie together, but they tend to come together randomly. So I’ll write them like most people write blogs, with the latest entry up front and center, but at the same time, as I write the entries, I’ll be organizing them in a table of contents to make it easier to find topics on similar subjects. So in a way, if you are a regular reader, you’ll watch any book I might write unfold in front of your eyes, albeit a bit randomly.

Don’t let the title fool you though. While others have always assigned the word “wisdom” to me, I am not sure I buy it.  I see myself as someone who has succeeded and failed both, and has learned, and is still learning from his life. I am sharing my journey more than trying to tell anyone how to live.  It was William Butler Yeats (a favorite poet” of mine.)  who once said “education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

And that is what I hope I can do.

So that’s the short version, or as short as I could make it. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. I hope my move towards simplicity and wholeness resonates with you, and you find it helps you become more whole, more joyful, more effective, and more profitable in whatever you do. 

Take care. Travel wisely,

Tom Atkins
founder, Quarry House

Lesson 99

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