It’s two in the morning here and I’m sitting in my work-discarded, cushy, swiveling office chair racking my mind on what to write. I’ve asked people for suggestions at this point and been given nothing, which, good. “I’m a writer, right?” I said. “Shouldn’t be taking the easy way out.”
If only it were that easy. I’m finishing up a novella of sorts and have yet to start my next novel, so there’s nothing update-worthy there. I’m back home from Montana a week now and already back into the work routine. My life is as regular as ever.
Every so often I have to remind myself why I write. I don’t think I’m necessarily very good at it, but it’s cathartic, it’s a nice hobby, and I like to make things. I have friends who don’t like to read and others who don’t like fiction at all. But I do. I fucking love stories. I love lives and all the drama that goes into them. I love plot twists and strange worlds, magic and new tech, break-ups, make-ups, births and shocking deaths. I love stories, ones on the page – typed and illustrated – and ones on the screen.
I love stories I make myself. I like to think I’m not boring, that I have stories I can tell that will entertain or educate or make you think. I write books for other people, and this blog… well, mostly for myself, I think, sometimes, but also because I want people to know me and understand who I am and why I am the way I am.
But entertainment? I love it. I love making something, relationships and locations and histories out of nothing but frustration and airy imagination. I like to give these things to people and take them out of their troubles and concerns for a while.
Creating a product and putting it out is one thing, though. Getting feedback is something else entirely, something nerve-rackimg, devastating and euphoric. Getting a good review is like a drug. For a guy who struggles daily to try and figure out what his purpose on this planet is, hearing that someone is excited to read or having had read something I cooked up in this clusterfuck of a head is like snorting cocaine on a rocket flying to an intergalactic strip club made of candy. Or something, I don’t know, I put words together in a line, I’m not a metaphor doctor.
I have to say, though, I hate pitching my work to read. I feel pretentious, hocking my version of art to someone. But if they read and like it, hell, I love talking about it then. Hearing what their favorite parts are, who their favorite characters are, talking about why I wrote certain things certain ways, or how and why I developed certain characters. I love seeing people enthusiastic about my work.
I’ve got an accomplished comedian friend tell me she’s got my first novel in her bookcase and she proudly shows it off. I had a girl find me and with excited eyes tell me she found in her pocket the napkin I wrote the names of my books on. I’ve sold copies to customers at my day job when I started talking about the Kindle app they downloaded. I’ve had friends read my books multiple times or reach out to me to say they can’t wait to finish them or for me to write the next one. I’ve had a woman who doesn’t likr fiction at all talk to me excitedly aboht my writing because she likes that I don’t think the way she does, that I see and appreciate things that are foreign to her.
Most of these things have happened as recently as the last week. Also in the last week, a woman – an immensely talented artist in her own right – saw my office. It was messy, cluttered, full of books and notes and a fridge with microwaveable shit food. I haven’t shown my office to many people. It’s my sanctum sanctorum (that’s for you, Dr. Strange fans), my think tank, the place I get down and dirty with my feelings and my fictions. It’s my safe place, and I feel nervous showing it because… well, I’m a writer. Right? I feel like garbage about myself sometimes and I worry about what people are going to think about this workplace that means the world to me. And she sees this, this person I want to make the best possible impression to, and she gets it. She looks at me with just unbridled excitement and happiness. She knows what it means to me and she threw her support behind her smile 100% when she saw it, because she knew as fucked up and messy as it was, it was my baby there.
It’s a rush to have people like what I do. It’s a rush to talk about it and spill my secrets. It’s nice to know I can make people smile, make people escape, male people think and feel. It’s a rush to know that artists…artists of all kinds, those creative people, people I care a lot about and whose opinions I hold in high regard… it’s nice to know they think I do a decent job and that they support my endeavors, regardless of where I carry them out.
I have a lot of love for my craft and for my fans, honest to God fans. I never thought I’d see the day.
I put my heart on the page and into my office. Every day I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by even trying to write. Then I remember that napkin. The re-reads. The excitement. The private messages. The look on her face. I spent two hours trying to figure out what to write about tonight.
Writing. For me, it’s always writing. For you, well,
you’ll always get stories from me.