Wave as You Go By
I've been writing now for a decade.
It's crazy, really.
Yet, here I am. Always more stories to write. More books to do my best to get into your hands and minds. Right now, I'm sitting in a podcasting studio in Albuquerque. Gone are the days I would troll the #writingcommunity hashtag on Twitter looking for commiseration. My novel Nameless is still in publishing limbo and I honestly feel like I have hit some sort of creative wall. Not so much writer's block... more like a creative winter. And that's ok. It really is.
So often, we think (I think, anyway) that we have to crank out books like an on-demand printing press. We have to march to assembly-line whimsy. But we don't - and honestly, I don't think we can on a sustainable basis anyway. I'm a creative yearning for a better world. I'm basically broke. I don't know how we'll pay for rent next month. I fight a weird balance between doing my best to Make Good Art and combing help-wanteds that appear the least soul-sucking. I know I'm not alone in this.
We want a better world.
I recently had the luck and pleasure to pick up a hardback first edition of Silent Spring. How is it that we can live in such a morass of poison day-in-day-out and not rebel? How is so much bad allowed to continue? Why do our norms have to be careless greed and ceaseless apathy? Why does it seem (to this little writer, at least) that the people with the most immediate power to lessen a great deal of human misery are, instead, quite content with stacking up dollar bills instead?
"Do you not know, my son, with how little understanding the world is run?"
Pope once uttered that.
I've come to believe it.
There is this place I get to these days where it's more like drowning than creating. I'm tired but I haven't toiled. I'm wasted yet well-fed. I'm worried yet cared for. I feel hopeless yet I know I am deeply loved all the same.
Don't get me wrong. I still believe in Tolkien's eucatastrophes. I still believe in miracles and magic. Still believe it is darkest and most bitter just before the dawn. But I also don't count on things unless the check cashes, either. Does that make me jaded?
I wanted to live in an old house in a quiet neighborhood, happily married, writing books and helping others with marketing. I wanted at least a little bit of comfort in the knowledge that my imagination, skills, and heart not only helped others but also translated to a life where I can pay the bills on a regular basis without compromising who I am inside.
I don't really care if that sounds entitled. Sue me (I'm broke anyway).
I write this because I need to.
Other writers might counsel me to keep the feelings to myself. To not let others see me bleed. But I don't mind. I think we all need to quit pretending. Spending time in a Good imagination is such a precious thing. It's the farthest thing from escaping. It's a Centering of the heart. A homecoming we dare not hope too loudly for. When I tire of the facade of reality which ignores human suffering illustrated in Silent Spring, I know I can pick up my worn copy of The Silmarillion and be home again.
If you're reading this and want to help beyond 'thoughts and prayers', buy one of my books. Leave a really heartfelt review. Let me help you publish your own book. Offer me a non-soul-crushing job at a fair wage. Invite me to share in your own creative joys with my own passion and skill.
At the very least, wave as you go by - ok?