I’ve wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pencil, before I even knew what the alphabet was I would just draw scribbles on every blank page I could find. It was a compulsion to mark the page. When I was five or six I visited an office with my parents, and saw a woman behind a desk using a typewriter, and I lost my entire little mind! I couldn’t sit still, I needed to be closer to see what she was doing, and then of course I wanted to do it, too. I got a whipping for not sitting down when I was told to, but I thought it was totally worth it to see that miracle called a typewriter.
It would take me a decade to get a typewriter of my own, and it was the most expensive thing I had ever owned. The value of the stories I could tell juxtaposed against that cost twisted me up for a very long time. I wrote in high school, but gave it up for more practical things because the world wore me down. Looking back at my yearbook stories and my newspaper stories I was so cynical that it burns me now to see it. I can’t remember being that person, and I am glad about that. I understand better now what my acidic tones and snappy wit was covering up.
What does a dream cost, and when is the price too high? Without ever really asking that question I decided it was all too high, and packed it in while still going through the motions with deadlines and stories that filled the page, but left me empty on the inside. Then life, and the real world spun out around me. It would be six years before I tried again, called back to worship the blank page, and partake of the holy experience of writing in the slim light of my room and the wee hours of the morning.
I found that notebook the other day, but I haven’t been able to look at yet. The reflection I might see there makes me hesitate. I will soon, and if I find anything worth sharing I will do so here.
So, fast forward from 1995 to 2013, and I tried once again to do what I had always longed to do. Write. That was the goal at first, to just fucking write. Something, anything, everything, never mind if it sucks. Just write something to fill this empty hole in me left by a dream abandoned in another life.
I started with fanfiction because, honestly, I just needed more Eric Northman in life. I was insatiable. From the show True Blood, to the SVM series, to all the incredible fanfiction written by masters, I could not get enough, so, I started writing my own. I spent three years remembering what I had forgotten, and learning even more in a world that could never be mine, but I was writing, and even if it was bad writing, and I don’t think it was, I felt so fucking ALIVE. Like never before, ever. Writing was the itch I could never reach fully satisfied, and I was so incredibly happy for the first time in my life I could barely contain myself.
I was a month in when I realized that all my failed relationships were because I had been trying to substitute one kind of love for another, and that no one person could ever be the universe I truly needed. It was too much to ask or expect when what I truly wanted was to scribble on the page, and split myself apart to find the pieces that cut and the pieces that loved and give them a life of their own. Writing is the holiest of loves to me, and all I needed was the strength to bleed out onto the page and tell stories.
I tried to share that incredible feeling with the people in my life. I mean, just sit down and talk about how good it felt, and how it topped every experience I had ever had up to that point in my life, and I was rejected by all of them. They didn’t get it. The kind of feeling I was describing left them berating me for spending my time alone rather than with them, and they ganged up on me in packs to tell me that I was getting too big of a head, thinking I was all that, but I wasn’t. I was just incredibly happy, joyous even. Until that moment I had not fully realized how many people want you to not be happy.
I don’t know if it’s because they aren’t happy, or if it’s because they fear you moving away from them because they can’t directly share in the experience that is making you happy, but whatever it is, I had hit the first hurdle this time around.
Looking back, the whipping I took, for not being able to contain myself at six, was the beginning of a series of similar events that cropped up each time I came close to realizing this dream in my secret heart, and I got really fucking angry. Not at the people doing it, but at myself for letting them do it. I could have had this joy my entire life, but I had always folded, and abandoned it in the face of one kind of whipping or another.
It’s now three years later, and I did not fold this time. I kept going. I am still going. I will keep going. I am still hitting hurdles. Nothing about this has been easy, and some days are harder than others, but I am not going to stop.
I am out beyond the edge of the land now, and I may fall and break myself before I get to other side, but at least I will be doing something I love, at least I will be ALIVE when I go down. That’s not nothing.
I am still learning, and failing, and getting whipped in one form or another. That’s okay. I am supposed to learn and fail, and I think it’s the world’s job to whip me, though I would really like to be wrong about that. It’s all right though, because we are both going to keep doing what we do, and then we’ll tally the points at the end and see where we stand.
I told you I would share my experiences of being published, in hopes of shining a light on the path for those beside me, and those following behind. This is the beginning of that promise. I thought it best to begin with who I am, for context on the stories I have yet to tell you. Feel free to ask questions, or just to tune in as I keep my word to you.
Next time we will begin with how I worked up the nerve to publish, and the first steps I took to make that happen. Until then, this is the Storyteller signing off.
One last thing, whatever your joy is, hold it close and nurture it like your life depends on it, because it does. Without joy we are just killing time here, and that, my friends is waste of something beautiful.
Much love to you all,