2013/04/28 § Leave a comment
Universe: Hum, what’s up doc?
Universe: So, what can I do for you?
Me: I want to tell stories.
Universe: Okay. Good for you!
Me: Stories have done so much for me. They’ve carried me, entertained me, made me think. They brought me to other worlds when ours was disappointing. They introduced me to a thousand people, made me live their hopes and dreams, made me understand their fear and hanger. They taught me much, on good and evil, on values and aspirations, on living and living well. I would like, is some small way, to do that for others.
Universe: I applaud the sentiment.
Me: I want to tell stories of adventure and mysteries. Of war and peace and love, of intrigues and deceit and murder. I want to tell stories with guns and swords, with lost civilizations and spaceships, with corrupt politicians and reluctant heroes and secretive sages. I want to tell of magics and dragons and cyborgs, of knights and AI’s, of doomsday weapons, of invading hordes, of detectives and ghosts and priests. I want to create worlds of strange vistas but familiar souls, where one can get lost and live, if but for a brief moment. I want to tell stories where all is lost and all is gained but at what price. I…
Universe: Pardon me. Could I interrupt for a moment?
Me: Of course.
Universe: Why are you telling me all this? I mean, telling stories is what your species does, how you build your cognitive structures. If you were, let’s say, a Païrouki, then you’d have a problem. They don’t have a speck of a narrative bone in their body (they actually don’t have bones at all, but you get my drift). But you’re an Earthling! Telling stories is in your DNA, for Me’s sake!
Me: Yeah, I know.
Universe: So, again, why the rant? Why not just tell stories?
Me: Well, I want to be a writer.
Me: But I don’t really write.
Me: What was that?
Universe: What was what?
Me: I thought I heard a groan. It seemed to be coming from your left clavicle.
Universe: Oh, that. That’s nothing. It’s just my writerverse. I think I pulled it yesterday playing squash. It’s been bothering me ever since.
Me: Nice try, but it’s okay. It is ridiculous. If there’s just one rule out there for writing, one that everybody agrees on, it’s to write. Every day. As much as you can. It’s that 10,000 hours thing. It’s the only way to get good. I know there is no shortcut. To be a writer, you need to write.
Universe: So, why don’t you?
Me: Laziness? Fear? I tell myself I can’t do it, that I’m not good enough, so why try? I’ve been brewing story ideas in my mind for twenty years, the outline of a character here, the opening gambit of an intrigue there. They’re always there, but they’re incomplete. I can never get to the complete story, I never feel I know where I’m going, so I don’t write. But I know that to get the full picture, I’d need to start writing, to put things to paper, to progressively build. I don’t, so I’m stuck.
Universe: What’s changed? I’m assuming there’s a purpose to this conversation other than you flogging yourself.
Me: Well, I’m getting, not old, but older. I’ll be 35 in a few months. And my job, while a good, well-paid job, it’s simply not doing it for me. I can’t put my heart and soul into it. It’s not enough. And reading stories and watching movies is not enough either. I’m finding it harder and harder to find stuff that’ll transport me. It may be I’m becoming more discerning, but I think it’s also that, as I read or watch, there’s a voice in the back of my head that says “That’s not where this should go.” or “This is what I would have liked to see.” or “Hey, this is my idea!” or, most often, “I wish I could do that.” I need an exorcism. I’ve been telling myself and my friends that I would like to write for most of my life. I need to be able to say that I tried, even if it comes to nothing. I don’t want to have the regrets on my deathbed.
Universe: Alright. Where to from here?
Me: This blog, it’s my commitment to you, the Universe, to write, to produce stories and try to sell them. By consigning my goals to the Internet and its multitudes, I’m betting that I won’t be able to invoke the easy excuses of the past, and that I’ll actually write. In return, I’m counting on you to smite me with the full fury of your karmic retribution should I fail to hold to my commitment.
Universe: You sure? Karmic justice can be a bitch. You could end up the hamster pet of an eight-year-old who never changes the litter, or a mold in somebody’s basement, only good to give emphysema.
Me: It’s a risk I’m willing to accept, if it means I don’t waste this life.
Universe: Jay P. Brass, we have a deal. I’ll be watching.