Being a writer is interesting. I have always been an extraordinarily private person. I frankly rarely confided in anyone for most of my life. In this regard, I have been all receive, and no transmit. I cannot remember having friends when I wasn’t the chief confidant, advisor, and more often than not, counselor, psychologist, bestest best friend.
What I have never been, before starting my first blog in 2005, is willing to share. In fact, as I have mentioned before, I didn’t start talking until I was two years old. The reason was simple: I didn’t want to talk about anything that’s important to me.
Oddly, in my writing – on my blog, in my poetry, even in the (extraordinarily rare) snippets of my life that make it into my fiction – people respond most to my revelations than anything else. Some will say the reason is simple: those are the bits that are most real. They tell me I feel stronger about my life, and that’s why those bits of writing are the personal and emotional.
I’m not so sure. See, I consider emotion to be a fiction. It’s all chemistry and reactions. I feel them, but I don’t believe in them much. I don’t feel stronger about my life than the lives of people I have never met. I think people respond because they think I should feel stronger, and therefore, pay more attention.
What has always been real to me is what could be, what should have been. I had plans for life. I would marry, once, raise a child who adored me. I’d take care of my friends while I lived, my parents as they aged, and myself, eventually. I’d have a full life, loads of laughter, and fun until the last gasp.
Ah, but life cares not for dreams.
I have married and divorced twice. I have plenty of real friends, none of whom are a real part of my life. In fact, most of the people I wish were real friends I have never seen – met from my writing. In fact, 2 of my dearest friends are former blogging buddies. I have a life, but not the one I’d written for myself. But once in a great while, I stand back, watch the setting sun, and gain perspective.
All I need is you, Lord. All I need is you.
Perhaps that was to be the first lesson. If you have read any of my books, and felt them, you will find God there. I won’t say more than that – this isn’t a discourse on religion, and frankly, I don’t care if you believe or not. I started writing for a number of reasons. First, the love of my life fell completely apart, and left. I’m hoping she falls together soon. In my devastation, as she was also my writing partner and best friend, I started writing a book. When I finished it, in 6 weeks, I wrote a second. In 6 weeks. I promised God that I’d finish, and perhaps teach people just a touch about Love.
That’s with a Capital L.
The second reason I started writing is that I finally understood that dreams aren’t what we think they are. They aren’t meant to come true – not in the way we expect. Oh, I believe in fantasy, in happy endings, in nightmares turned to light. I believe the light hides evil and darkness sometimes shields the beautiful and frightened. I believe we are given dreams to inspire us, and we give ourselves nightmares.
Most of all, however, I believe we are given dreams so that we care enough to rise, and hope, and therefore, care enough to Love.
And this brings me to the last reason I write. I don’t need to be read. I don’t need to be rich; I’ve got 99 problems but some cash ain’t one. I surely don’t need to be famous. Hell, I will never get the kind of attention other writers get. I’m cool with that.
I write, because as I sat in my little heartbreak cave, back in September 2009, not having finished reading a single work of fiction in more than six years, not having ever tried to write a novel, having only attempted a single short story (20 years earlier), I realized that I didn’t finish books because I hated reading.
See, I had been reading since age 4 – self-taught, and planned on loving books my whole life. But I hated them. And, given all my other plans had turned to shit, I decided to lift my head, and pray. I closed my eyes, placed my hands on the keyboards, and typed. And I’ll tell you – nothing I’ve ever done has been as easy. And I did as I promised God. I wrote books for people – like me – who hated most of the shit being written.
My fairy tale about happy marriage endings did not come true. Neither time. But it doesn’t matter – I’m still their best male friend, and we never gave a fucking penny to a lawyer. So, the lesson I learned is that even though I lost the dream, I kept everything else.
So if this being a successful novelist dream doesn’t come true, who cares? All I need is you.