A long time ago I fell in love. Not sure when, or with what, but the emotional impact was immediate and everlasting. How everlasting? Over forty years and still going strong. Have I got your curiosity piqued? I have mine and I know the answer. Yes, I am this weird in real life. What am I talking about? Reading of course. I’d have to be pretty pervy to have been in a relationship for almost as long as I’ve been alive or an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Whatever the case, I have always had a book either in my hand or close by since way before I could read one. I still have one handy if you want to know the truth.
I firmly believe that early love of books led to me being freakishly introverted. Hey, because when your best friends are fictional characters, introverted is the least of your problems. As a sickly kid, playing for the most part wasn’t embraced by my over-protective mother, so I had to experience things through the adventures in my books. Thought I did, at least. Later on I came out of that shell. Came out as much as I am able to exit my hole inside myself.
That last bit wasn’t meant to elicit sympathy. It is simply a statement of fact. Here’s the kicker. Once you’ve become an introvert, completely trusting the world to be ‘real’ isn’t going to happen. The world is the thing that sent you inside in the first place. Most of us are functioning members of society. We go to work. We show up with smiles, and seem ‘there’. Thing is, most of the time, we’re somewhere else when we’re standing right in front of you. Some of us genuinely need professional help. Heck we all probably do, but for some of us, we channel that mystical inside into worlds never before seen by mortal man or woman. I know those psychiatric types might have something to say about that statement but think on this. Without us weird out-of-our-head imagainaunts, you wouldn’t have Middle Earth, Narnia, or any number of other worlds that teach our hearts to believe in hope and magic.
I was and am one of those inside thinkers. Giving yourself totally to a world that gives pain and suffering is such a scary proposition, I honestly can’t see why anyone would want to do it. Then I remember, that world also gives love, comfort, hugs, and so many things of beauty that giving in to the need to disappear inside falls away. It might lurk and wait for an opportunity to come back out to pull us inside ourselves. That’s its job. Our job is to decide to say screw it, and give our love and faith to the world.
Artistic types are good at giving their inside to the world. How many of us listen to a song over and over because it says the things our minds are too afraid to say out loud. We look at paintings or works of art that do the same things. Books, poems, movies, even television shows, give us views into ourselves that we might otherwise miss without someone else showing us the way.
As a writer, I consider it my job to help others see that way. I live inside and rarely do I venture out. Thanks to my family, especially my beautiful wife Jenn, and the wonderful group of friends God continues to grow around me I can walk in the sunshine. More importantly, through my stories I can help others to make that same walk with me. That brings me more joy than I can express in words. As wonderful as inside can be, it’s a dark lonely place that just closes up around you. I still find myself there from time to time. Luckily, as I said, I got people who love me and won’t let me stay there for long.
I know I’m rambling but hopefully in my ramble I’ve come to the point. Writers unleash their inner selves through our stories and books. As magical as those worlds might seem, never forget how lonely the act of writing those stories can be. We might draw inspiration from the world around us, but the world inside us is where all the living really takes place. So, next time you see a writer mumbling to himself, or herself as the case may be, just be grateful they don’t have a laptop handy. Who knows where you might wake up if the power of that writer’s inside is strong enough to make our world as real as their world is to them.
Scary thought, huh?
Well don’t dwell on it too much, just enjoy the magic in my stories and who knows? Maybe one day they will be real. I’ll settle for a SyFy television series. Why be greedy about it?
Til next week, Happy Reading!