My own little world.
It’s always strange to me when I finish a great book and realize that the story exists to others as much as it does to me. The characters that I have spent weeks—or more likely days—coming to know and love, are known and loved by a vast world of people. It feels a little like a betrayal, to be honest. I remember a similar feeling when I was thirteen and I discovered The Matrix. I watched it once and became enthralled by the world, the characters, and Keanu Reeves. I made my mom re-rent it from Blockbuster (these were the days before Netflix) and I watched it repeatedly for days. Then came a day at school when I overheard some classmates talking about the movie, and, as silly as it may sound, I felt a little protective.
Next I discovered Pink Floyd, and realized that not only were there others who loved the music, but I was several decades behind them in my experience of it. It still felt like it was mine. The lyrics and the music were written and composed for me, even though I was late in the game.
For Christmas I bought myself Ken Follett’s newest book, Winter of the World. He has become my favorite
current living author. I fell in love with his writing through the world he
created for Pillars of the Earth,
then subsequently World Without End.
Now this newest novel is the second book in his century trilogy. While I can’t
say that I loved it in the same way as the first, I loved it nonetheless. As
you have undoubtedly discovered, I am a complete nerd when it comes to books.
As I read this new book I found myself actually angry with the author at two
different points, because of the grief I felt for the characters, and it
occurred to me that this is what the creative process is about. Creating
something that is so real, so genuine, and so moving that it has a tangible
effect on the ones who experience it.
I have spent so much time trying to write myself into a certain category within a certain world to reach a certain group of people, that I have lost some of the true passion I have for writing. I have dreamed, for so many years, of being a writer, and using words to capture a person’s mind and win their heart in the process. I have dreamed of writing my own Atlas Shrugged, my own Lord of the Rings, my own great novel, and yet somewhere along the line I settled for a spot in the “good enough” seats. Now I’m asking myself, as I toil over every word of the novel I am trying to create, why write something if your only aspiration is to be good enough to get read? Why write something if your goal is not to strike a chord in the heart of the reader, so deep that they will begin a love affair with the work?
I just want to write my heart. By endeavoring to do so I must first accept two things. One, the potential of having my heart completely disregarded. And two, the inevitable rejection. I’m not sure what’s worse, to be ignored or to be hated. It’s a toss up.
But it’s a necessary risk. To produce something real, and something great, I’ll have to stick my neck out. Because no one will ever spend days or weeks immersed in a story that is just “good enough”, and no one will ever come away from that story feeling like they have lived through the pages. No one will say, it is mine.
I don’t know what I’m doing here, or what 2013 will bring to this blog. I have a story to write, and the closest thing I have to a new year’s resolution is to write that story, and to write it well.