Sunday, November 3, 2013
Writing for Writing Sake: Mea Culpa Mea Culpa
Dear Occasional Reader,
We have many different reasons that we are forced to express ourselves by writing, by arranging words on a page to tell a story.
Some wish to do just that. Tell a story. One morning they wake up, one night they toss in bed, but the story untold keeps them rocking back and forth, maybe even tortured with the story they must tell.
And a story emerges from somewhere inside them and makes it to the page. And there it stops, and the writer can rest until the next sleepless night.
Some have a hobby. This reason for writing always grated on my nerves the most because the writer "toys" with writing, "toys" with the Muse that pulls the words from dark recesses and onto the page. They collect stamps, they built plastic race cars, they garden and they write.
And then write if for no other reason than to put 50,000 words on a series of pages, to grow the largest carrot or to stand back at their carved creation with pride and a sense of accomplishment and then what ever it was they made, it goes on the shelve and on occasion they will point at it and exclaim See! See what I did! It is my hobby.
Some don't know why they write or some are simply angered by the demons that crawl through their psyche and they catch a glimpse of evil and want to capture it on a page. We are all filled with evil and darkness and see the muck of life and our bookshelves and popular culture is bursting with blood and zombies and vampires and werewolves and serial killers.
And even those people who are trying so desperately have the sense to send their work away, to publish, to have reviewed to catch a glimpse from someone who will respond with "Ahhh, I know that demon", "I recognize that evil", "I sense that darkness" and within a few months, a story goes to circulation in screen or print or blog.
And then there is me.
I don't hold it back. For decades, I had a desire to write. I even drug a smith-corona, a black beret and a leather trench coat through the back streets of Paris in the 70's so I could live the life. And I wrote and I published some and I came back and the people around me looked at me, they looked at the stories and poetry I had written and published and wondered what the hell was I talking about. Who is this guy?
And I left. I left everyone I knew. I left L.A. I left my comfort and I left writing and I began a trek in the Real World that took me a few years back and my 20 years in classrooms were done, my children were raised, my life was reasonably stable and I returned to my writing.
But this time I wanted to transition. Where I had draw a handsome salary training around the world, I know wanted two things: to be able to survive at the level that I had become accustomed too with my wife and cars and homes and annual trips to Europe, and secondly to be recognized as a writer and for people to listen this time to the tale I had to tell.
It has been almost 5 years now with little to no success at either. I have written a "book", I have written and published 4 short stories in an Anthology series, I have written 2 screenplays and much more. And too this day, I have not earned a dime from my words nor with the exception of the closest of reader friends, have I gained respect as a Writer.
I feel the jig is up. I feel my time has past. I feel that I am scream-writing in the woods and like a tree falling, no sound has been made. My wife looks at me with a squinted questioning and eye and says "That's it? All of that and you are done? You Quit?"
I looked to writing to provide an income, a necessary income and over these 5 years my/our financial situation has gotten worse and worse and nearly everything is gone and I have a book and 4 published stories, 2 screenplays and a handful of other works. What ego I had is lost, my Muse is buried under a mountain of debt and health and general piles of life's shit. I don't know what to do but quit.
I look at who is reading my work and day after day, no one comes. I leave facebook after posting day in and day out and then disappear. I sneak back to see if I am even mentioned of if someone, anyone even questions "Hey where did that guy go? He was here..." And nothing. Life goes on and I didn't seem to make much of an impact.
That is not a problem. That is ego. But then so is my story telling and writing and it is time, I spend my remaining years trying to salvage what I can financially so that I put my wife through no future pain or suffering.
So although it will not matter, I wanted to at least say for now, Au revoir and if things change, I may return. But for now, I must find some other means to make a living.