Moment of Doubt

Sorry for being so quiet of late. I’m in a slump of sorts. Usually when I finish a book, ideas are fighting to get out of me. True, I’ve got ideas, but not the words to make them into reality, or what passes for reality in the literary world. So, I’ve basically brooded over what to do next. Unfortunately, I’ve come up with nothing.

I have come to feel that I’m at a crossroads. My life has taken many turns this year. I’ve spent it examining my own mortality. Becoming a grandfather, and just this week a great-uncle, I’ve gotten into the habit of re-examining my life. What impact have I had on those who have passed through my life? Have I used my God given talents to their fullest extent? Does my writing have meaning? You know. The usual when it comes to us self-doubting creative types.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to call myself an artist. If you look at the definition as any person who expresses themselves through a visual or musical medium, then I never stopped. Writing is a visual medium, so let’s not discount it in my definition. Whereas sculptors, painters, photographers, and so on, use a ‘visible’ format to get their ideas across, authors force you to accept their visions through the words they use.

As someone who has worked in both areas, let me tell you, writing is a much harder medium to work in. Mainly, because the response to art is immediate. You’re there in person when someone views your work. You get an instantaneous view of what people think. Writing is different. You rarely get to communicate with a reader. It could be months or years before you actually get to talk to someone who has read one of your books. You’re left with doubt as to whether you’ve achieved what you set out to do. Sadly, when you do hear, it’s not always what you want to hear, or read, if we’re talking reviews.

This may be pathetic or self-serving of me to bring up, but after checking a pirate site and looking to see if my books were there, I found out one of my books had been downloaded like a kajillion times. Okay, I might be exaggerating. The point I’m getting at is this. The fact those kajillion people illegally downloaded my book gave me a warped sense of vindication. That I hadn’t been wasting my time isolating myself from humanity. People liked my books enough to steal them. Whoopie! Never mind, people hadn’t bothered to spend hard earned money to equal those illegal reads. I had reached someone enough to point out my book was good enough to steal to read. How pathetic is that? A writer gets worked up because he’s made the best non-seller list. Don’t answer. I’m not sure I’m up to reading the answer.

With yet another book under my belt, I sit here wondering not what next, but if next. I’ve never been a quitter. Non-starter maybe, but I’ve never quit to the point that sometimes I should have. With the urge to once again paint filling me, do I owe it to myself to return to my first love? Balancing both is like splitting your mind in two. There is a constant struggle to hold in the dominance of one over another. One will always suffer. The thing is I quit all those years ago because at the time I knew I couldn’t do what I wanted the way I wanted. Basically, I couldn’t be the best I could be. With time between me and the then me, I’ve found the muse and skill to be that me I wasn’t able to be then. Could the same be true of writing? Have I reached the end of this me? Not quitting totally, but stepping back to examine what I want to write, or maybe just find myself again.

Since 2006, I have written over 25 books that are or were in print at one time. That’s a lot of verbal usage for one guy to regurgitate out of his head. I could just be burned out. The ideas seemed tired and trite. I am moving slower than I did when I first started out. Needless to say, the books I do now are better than when I first jotted words onto the screen.

So, maybe I’m not burned out. I could just have a firmer grip on who I am and what I want to write. I could just be resisting writing just to be writing. I have never want to just throw books out to throw books out. The stories I write are a big part of me. To write something I don’t believe in would be denying who I am. I have enough negative delusions without adding more.

Which brings us to who am I. My life is taking on different meanings. I am currently considering going back to school for my masters. Life itself is uncertain as it never has been before. I’m growing older, and the world is constantly changing around us all. As someone who expresses the world around them in literary terms, how can I express anything with uncertainty the word of the day? Perhaps that’s the problem. I have been trying to tell stories set in a safe world when normal is well normal. The world is anything but set in stone. As I travel down this road, I need to take that fact into account.

I guess I’m just adjusting like the rest of you. The world can be a scary place, and it’s my job as an artist or author to take your minds off your troubles either with words that make you escape your own hardships for a time, or give you a snazzy visual image that let’s you see the beauty in the world. Despite everything else, I try to never lose sight of why I write or paint. It has never changed from when my brain first opened itself to create. I create to give people an emotional release. Ultimately, when I make people smile, it makes me smile.

In spite of my doubts, I can’t deny bringing joy is the greatest calling there is, and one I hope to never stop doing.

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