Looks like I’m about to be old again. I know. Funny how I always seem to get old once a year. You’d think I’d have gotten used to this old business by now. It’s not like I don’t mind the aging business. I sure can’t stop it from happening, but I’d appreciate it if a little more wisdom seeped through. I’m not exactly as stupid as I used to be. I just seem to have developed new stupids to replace the old ones. This blog isn’t about all that. Then again, I’m not entirely certain what it is about. I’m just in a rambling off at the mouth mood.
More than once in my life, people have told me things happen for a reason. Since experience has bore this out to be true, I guess the fact I became a writer late in the game seems to be a product of this divine truth. I honestly don’t believe I could have attempted it any sooner. Sure, I dabbled with the idea early in life. As a reader from a very young age, I was constantly amazed by the people who wrote the books that transported me to other worlds. Even then, a part of me wanted to create worlds just like my idols.
I tried as you might expect, but soon found words were fun to read but hard to pull out of your mind. My eight year old self shelved my writing career in favor of drawing. Comic books combined two of my loves, reading and pictures. I shifted my story telling to a visual medium. Can’t say I succeeded any better, but I learned to do two things that I believed helped me to become a writer. Come on, man! What are these two things?
Well, hold your horses. I’m getting to them. The first was to think visually. Huh? I can’t be certain if it’s the same for everyone, but I don’t think in words. I think in pictures, moving pictures to be exact. When I first began writing, movies would play in my head, whole chapters some days. From those mind movies, my books take shape. I can honestly thank the comic artists who I greedily consumed as a kid, teenager and yes, adult for teaching me that words are nothing without pictures to fuel the written word. Sacrilege you might be saying to yourself. Or, even something more mean. Buddy, if you need pictures to read, you need to reevaluate your ability to write. I agree with you, but I also ask you to bear with me. I do have a point to make. Pictures don’t detract from storytelling, they enhance the experience.
Which brings me to the second thing I learned from my time as an artist. Storytelling is the art of painting pictures in the mind with words. Whether spoken or written, it is the job of an author to take his thoughts and concepts and distill them into words. He or she must take those words and so completely infuse them with life that a reader can’t help but be transported into another world. At least, I see the job of an author as being this. Since, I have read more than a few authors who were experts at this, I feel confident in making this judgment. If you disagree, feel free to tell me.
The thing is this, at age eight, or even eighteen, I don’t believe I had matured enough as an author or human being to become a writer. Sure, I’d lived, but I hadn’t lived enough to gain the practical experiences to call myself a fully functioning adult. Hey, if you know me at all, you might still disagree that at age forty-five I’m a fully functioning adult, but why would I want to be? The greatest part of being alive is the ability to still see the magic in the world around us. If you can’t stop to enjoy the everyday miracles of just being alive, I feel sorry for you. That said, I’ll gladly claim the title of big old kid. Life just sucks too much sometimes to accept reality as it is. I would much rather envision magic all around us and a future where people don’t hate on each other as a recreational hobby. And, if I can give one reader a break from so-called reality, I have all the satisfaction I need from being an author.
As I sit back and enjoy my last week of being a forty-four year old kid, I look back on the history of my life and don’t see regrets and missed opportunities. No, I look back on a life lived in spite of my missed opportunities and the mistakes I’ve made along the way. Those things didn’t stop me from reaching this point. I didn’t suddenly die because I took a wrong turn here or a left turn there. No, these turns brought me to this point in my life. They brought me joy, sadness, and a host of family and friends that I might never have had if I’d given up on this road to who’ve I become. I might not like what I see all the time, but I sure like the man I might someday become. This isn’t a road that just ends. No, it’s a journey born of never ending change and growth.
My writing is just the outward example of those two things most of you will ever get to see. My first book is no way as good as my last book. Hey, the book I’m working on now won’t be as good as the one five years down the line. But! For the man I am today, it is the best book I’ve ever written. My maturity as a person and author has given birth to the book hounding my fingertips into the life you will one day get to read.
Next week, I might be one year older, but the child inside me will never grow up. That is the key to me writing. The old fart behind the keyboard isn’t the one letting his imagination soar. Nope, it’s the kid lurking inside me doing all the work, because he never gave up on dreaming of bold new worlds and the heroes, and heroines, who conquer them.
So, if you don’t see me next week, me and the kid will be eating cake and ice cream with funny hats on our heads and getting ready to see what the next forty-five years has in store for us!