Monthly Archives: January 2014

World’s 7 Best Tips for Writing a Novel

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“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”
– Stephen King

Often, I suspect the wisdom we gain in life is only applicable to our own lives.

Most people never figure that out. Most people learn things in life and feel the need to forcefully impart their wisdom on everyone, as if their personal lessons were universally pertinent.

Can you indulge me for a moment? Let me be an armchair philosopher?

Life is like a river. But we’re not sharing our rivers with other travelers. Each individual person on earth is flowing down their own personal stream. Nobody accompanies us. We’re in kayaks. We’re on our own. We have rocks and rapids and obstacles in our way and we have to deal with that. Now, if someone else meets us on the shoreline, and they have successfully navigated their own river, and they wish to divulge some of the lessons they’ve learned, they need to be careful in how they advise us. Remember, all our rivers are different. What works to save your life in one set of whitewater might not work for a different person, on a different river, where the rapids are a lot bigger and there are bears along the rocks.

What’s more, we all wish we could go back and sail our rivers again. Oh, man, if only I could apply all the stuff know today, back 100 miles upstream! Knowing what I know now, those challenges I faced back there would have been so much easier to overcome! I wouldn’t have said that stupid thing. I would have talked to that person sooner. I never would have talked to that person at all! If only I knew then what I know now.

Ah, youth is wasted on the young.

We lament the wisdom it took us too long to gain and feel foolish when someone else says, “You big dummy. We’re the same age and I learned that shit 15 years ago.”

Well, hoo-fucking-ray for you. That does me no good whatsoever. Want a cookie? Asshole?

Allow me to reiterate something I have said before – after nearly 30 years, I know far too little about the craft of writing to presume to give advice to anyone. Therefore, the thoughts I am about to share are not advice for other writers, rather they are gentle reminders for myself, of what works for me. Perchance if such reminders benefit you and inform your writing, all the better. But I’m not like those other jackasses who presume their personal truths are universal truths. Wise insights in my life could prove nothing but foolish naivety if applied to yours. These are things I’ve learned along my own river. Attempting to follow these suggestions may give you smooth sailing, or it may dash you against the rocks. I urge you to follow only with discretion.

Remember, the wisdom I have gained in life is only applicable to my own life. Be smart in what – and whom – you choose to emulate.

1. Write
The oldest advice in the book. Remember the line in Rocky Balboa – “A fighter fights.” Well, a writer writes. I have often tried to explain to non-writers that a great deal behind the act of writing consists of thinking. Perhaps “thinking” is a poor choice of word. “Visualizing” is more accurate. Sometimes, you just need to sit quietly and imagine the story. See it unfold before you. Listen to the characters. Watch what they’re doing. Ask them what happens next. Talk to them. Don’t write down anything. Just observe. Visualize. Imagine. Dream. But, sooner or later, you have to stop quietly visualizing the story and actually start the physical action of getting words on paper. When I first dreamed of being a writer, I spent far too much time daydreaming stories and far too little time actually writing them down. My ambition in life was to be a “writer of novels” not a “daydreamer of novels”. Want to be a writer? Stop daydreaming and start writing. Real fucking simple. A writer writes.

2. Don’t Struggle to Emulate Your Idols
This is a big one. “Struggle” is the operative word. When you are learning to write (a process that should be lifelong and never cease) it is fine to look up to writers you admire and attempt to emulate their writing methodologies, but never follow anything if it’s a struggle. Remember, the whole point is to learn how to write with ease. When you are “on the right path” the writing will be effortless. It will flow and undulate and roll gently down the creekbed like a gentle stream. If it’s moving like tar and sticking to everything and making a huge mess, you’re not on the proper path. When I started writing, I was very guilty of this. All writers have little idiosyncrasies to help them write. Some people like to outline first. Some people like to write in loud places like coffeeshops. Some people have to use a typewriter. Some people write best with a pen. Some people have to have a specific brand of tea and sit in their den at the same hour everyday. Whatever it happens to be, we all have our quirks. Many authors, when they are starting out, discover these little habits by finding interviews with their favorite authors, and they try to mimic those things. That’s fine, if those habits help you out. But most of the time, they won’t. They will only hinder you. So, find your own routines. If you are struggling to emulate someone else and it’s not working, let it go. Find your own voice. Find your own customs.

3. Structure is Everything
Notice that I did not use the word “outlining”. I used the word “structure”. My choice of words was careful and deliberate. Outlining is the basic framework. Outlining is the overview. I equate the outline with a blueprint. The “structure” is the actual rebar inside your concrete. The “structure” is the framework of your house. Blueprints are important. Outlines are important. But the rebar, the framework, the structure is where the construction of a story really begins to come together. Structure is everything. Build that right. Have a solid structure or all the beautiful work you put on top of it is going to collapse. In storytelling I equate structure with things like plot holes, the flow of the story, knowing what scenes to write as exposition and which to write as action. These things are the structure. Get them correct! Just like in architecture, building out those details comes after the outline, but before the writing.

4. Follow the Tone
This is a hard lesson to learn. I still struggle with this one from time to time. Never fight the natural tone and cadence and poetry of your story. There have been stories I’ve worked on where I imagined them with a certain tone, but as I began to write the story, it took on a life of its own and the characters began to speak and react and as I observed their conversations, I began to realize the tone I envisioned was all wrong. Maybe you are picturing a comedic tone and the story ends up adopting a more rollicking adventure tone. You think you’re writing the Muppets, but you’re actually writing The Goonies. You think you’re writing Hamlet, but it turns into The Crow. In other words, you may find the tone is close to what you thought it would be, but it’s not quite what you expected. When that happens, go with it. Don’t fight it. Follow the tone. Yes, it can be frustrating because the story is not conforming to your “vision” of what it was meant to be, but that’s not the fault of the story. That’s your fault for not paying attention when you discovered the idea! Don’t punish the story by forcing it to conform with your misguided vision. Trust the story. Have faith that it knows where it’s going. It knows how it should sound. It knows what it needs to be. Give it the tone it is telling you it has. Don’t attempt to dictate a different tone and wrangle something else upon it.

5. Writer’s Block Means you Wrote the Wrong Thing
“People are always saying ‘Well, what do we do about a sudden blockage in your writing? What if you have a blockage, and you don’t know what to do about it?’ Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, isn’t it? In the middle of writing something, you go blank and your mind says: ‘No, that’s it.’ Okay. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying, ‘I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.’ If you’ve got writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.”
– Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was so correct about this simple idea. This advice was so profound to me, that it’s really the one idea that inspired me compose this entire commentary in the first place, because it so beautifully applied to my situation. I always say I never get “writer’s block” I get “writer’s branch” – meaning I never get blocked on moving forward, instead I have too many ideas, to many branches of the river, and I don’t know which one to take. Remember the river analogy? Well, if writing is like a river, then writer’s block is like taking the wrong branch of the river. When you go down a deadend fork in the stream, you don’t start paddling against the sand, trying to push your boat up and over the riverbank. No. You circle back. Go upstream and figure out where you made that wrong turn and start over from there. For years, when I would have difficulty in writing something, I’d try to plow my way through it. Writer’s block isn’t caused by where you are, it’s caused by where you were. The mistake isn’t right in front of you. The mistake is 3 pages back. Where did you go wrong? Where did you start to drift off track? That’s where you messed up. Backtrack a little and find it. Go back to the last pages where you felt, “Yeah, this is really good.” The part of your story where that feeling stops, is probably where you made the mistake. Of course, if you obey the previous two rules – Structure is everything and follow the tone, you’ll never go down the wrong branch in the first place.

6. And with the Power of Conviction, There is no Sacrifice
“It’s a do or die situation. We will be invincible!”
– Pat Benetar
That’s a song I always loved, but I never truly understood the lyrics until recently.
“And with the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice.”
I realized that line embodies what it means to have devotion to your writing. Many writers will tell you that you need to make “sacrifices” in order to write. Come to terms with being a hermit. Accept it. Your social life is going to make Yoda’s hovel on Dagobah look like the heyday of Studio 54. Remember that you’re going to have to say, “No.” No, you can’t go to that concert with your friends. You need to stay home and write. No, you can’t start dating that person. You need to stay home and write. No, you can’t go check out that movie. You need to stay home and write. No, you can’t go out drinking. You need to stay home and write. I’ve never been drunk in my life, so that’s not a sacrifice for me. Turning down these opportunities requires a commitment and dedication and discipline that few people possess. You need to come to terms with those sacrifices. You need to accept the fact that you have to sometimes disappear for weeks or even months at a time. You are not doing it right until your friends start looking for your name in the obituaries instead of their phone books. You’re not doing it right until everyone stops calling altogether. But I suddenly realized, by definition, a “sacrifice” is something that is difficult to give up. When you are truly dedicated to writing, those things are no longer sacrifices. When you transcend those desires and you reach the point where you love writing so much, you don’t want to do anything else. You no longer perceive yourself as giving things up. The power of your conviction to your writing becomes so dominant, that you no longer care about the things you are tossing aside. There is no longer any sense of sacrifice. And with the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice. You will be invincible.

7. Compose Poignant Verisimilitude
Doesn’t matter if it’s an entire paragraph or a single sentence, peppering that writing with poignant verisimilitude is vital. Those are the moments that resonate long after a book is shut.

There are other things, to be sure. But, those seven things are the big ones. Those are the ones I wish I had understood when I was 14 years old. Notice I didn’t say I wish I had been told these things when I was 14 years old. Being “told” something is useless without understanding. I chose the word “understood” very carefully. We often spend our lives being told bits of wisdom or insight, but it may require years before it finally sinks in and we understand it. Being “told” something and “understanding” something are very different things. I had already heard a lot of this advice at the age of 14, but I never fully understood the meaning until many years later. Thus, I reiterate, I wish I had understood these things when I was 14 years old.

Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

“There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.”
– Harlan Ellison

BOOK REVIEW: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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“What does it matter if something is old? Charles Dickens said any book you haven’t read is a new book. What does it matter whether it’s old?… I don’t understand what this lemming-like dementia is about constantly having new stuff. When was the last time you read the totality of Steinbeck or Faulkner or Katherine Anne Porter or Shirley Jackson? Everybody always wants something new, new, new – and that’s what’s killing life for writers. This dementia for ‘new’ is ridiculous. It turns everybody into a back number… We’re dealing with a more and more illiterate and amnesiac constituency. It’s impossible to get a readership that will follow you, because all they know is what they knew yesterday… And so when I hear this what-are-you-doing-lately thing, or that the Edgeworks books are bringing back all of my older books, I say, ‘Yeah, they’re real old books – like five years old!’ See, I do go off on these things. And if you ask the wrong question, I get real cranky.”
– Harlan Ellison

That quote from Harlan Ellison begins all of my reviews because I agree with him so passionately on that point.

Few authors are more appropriate to supersede such a quote than Frances Hodgson Burnett of Manchester. This woman wrote her books over 100 years ago and they are just as wonderful and poignant today as they were back then. Too often, language and slang can change so drastically books become difficult to understand. Read a book that was written in English 100 years ago and it’s pretty easy to follow. But when you go back 200 years. 300 years. 400 years. As language evolves, it starts to get a little harder to decipher. Frances Hodgson Burnett is so eloquent, all of her stories sound like they were written yesterday. As an novelist myself, I can only hope that a century from now, someone is talking about me and how much they continue to love my books as well.

The Secret Garden is probably the second-most famous of all the books Frances Hodgson Burnett has written. Originally published in 1910, as of 2013, there have been no less than 3 film adaptations of it – one in 1919 starring Lila Lee (sadly, this version is apparently lost), one in 1949 starring Margaret O’Brien, and one in 1993 starring Kate Maberly (who, incidentally, grew up to be one of the most radiant women on earth – Kate, feel free to stalk me anytime you’re in Los Angeles). There have also been 3 television serializations starting in the 1950’s, an anime version, and multiple stageplays including a musical in 1991 and an opera commissioned in 2013. More than 103 years after it was created, The Secret Garden continues to inspire audiences and screenwriters and musicians and readers alike.

The word “timeless” is often overused to laud stories that are too new to warrant such a compliment. In the case of The Secret Garden, the longevity of the story has proven itself and “timeless” is quite an appropriate and well-earned description.

The book takes place during the birth of the 20th century and follows the story of a young English girl named Mary Lennox who has just been orphaned in India and is sent to live with her widowered uncle on a vast and lonely estate in the moors of England.

That sounds awful, but rest assured, it’s a wonderful story!

I once watched a 1974 James Day interview with Ray Bradbury where Mr. Bradbury said that the reason people love to read is for the asides. Fictional stories are all about the asides. The most uplifting and insightful and vivid and descriptive moments in books, the parts that resonate the best are the moments when we get into the characters thoughts. When we see how they are perceiving the world around them. That kind of observational philosophy about life, shared in the narrators descriptions. Frances Hodgson Burnett is masterful at this craft. She says such beautiful things of such insight and wisdom, and yet, she says them very plainly. Very simply. In ways that even a child can understand. Hence the reason a book like The Secret Garden is considered such a classic of children’s literature. The Secret Garden has single sentences that are so beautifully written, they bring me near to tears, because the words alone feel more real and alive than any person has ever made me feel.

“There was every joy on earth in the secret garden that morning, and in the midst of them came a delight more delightful than all, because it was more wonderful.”

Intellectually, that sentence doesn’t make any sense. But emotionally, the poetry of it shines with crystalline brilliance. Those are the kind of words that make the heart glow and sing. So simple. So brief. Yet they somehow feel as if they were written in gold in your very veins and when they are spoken, something comes to life inside you. Something that has never taken a breath before and was only waiting for your soul to read those words.

This passage is far longer, but a prime example of the kind of heartwarming sagacity that belongs in children’s literature and should be reiterated to adults as well.

“In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done – then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts – just mere thoughts – are as powerful as electric batteries – as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.

“So long as Mistress Mary’s mind was full of disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determination not to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a yellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child. Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not at all aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardeners and common little Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also with a moor boy and his ‘creatures,’ there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts which affected her liver and her digestion and made her yellow and tired.

“So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring and also did not know that he could get well and could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood. His scientific experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all. Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

“‘Where, you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow.'”

You see? You must read this book. Plain and simple. Because those are only small examples of many wonderful gems of insight. You need to read this book. Because you need to remember these things.

All of us have died a little bit. All of us. I know you like to pretend you haven’t. I know you always smile and tell the world you’re happy. You cover the shadows. You put the darkness in a box and lock it away so no one can ever see it. You lie about it so much that you’ve almost convinced yourself. You need to remember that those little deaths do not define you. They do not encompass the totality of who you are. There is still light in the world and as hard as it may be to believe, there is still light in the essence of who you are. Go and read The Secret Garden and remember that you are still alive. And if there be no grand purpose to that, if there be no fate or destiny behind it, if the universe does not even know you are here, you still possess the power to conjure your own meaning and your own worth. You can still imbue yourself with all the value you desire. All you need to rekindle your dormant garden is a bit of earth, and bit of time, and to tend it with a bit of gentleness.

Faithless Fortitude

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“He says, ‘Bill, I believe this is killing me,’ as a smile ran away from his face. ‘Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star, if I could get out of this place.’”
– Billy Joel

There once was a time when I read an article by an author who said that writers should never admit their insecurities. She said everyone has their bouts with self-doubt and you should never reveal those moments of misgivings to the world. Keep it to yourself. No one wants to hear it.

I agree with her sentiment. In fact, I think, most of us agree. Right? We hate to hear people whine. However, most of us also love to hear ourselves complain. There’s a cathartic satisfaction in ranting. Many of us love to hear others expound a well-phrased rant as well. Therein lies an odd contradiction. We enjoy the ablution of rants, yet, at the same time, no one wants to hear somebody mope about their misfortunes. We walk a fine line betwixt the two. I would argue that the difference between “ranting” and “whining” is all in the presentation. The difference isn’t necessarily in what you say, but in how you say it. Tone. Attitude. Right? Complaining with a bit of pissy anger is ranting and people enjoy identifying with that. Complaining with despondent woe is whining and people hate that shit.

Typically, ranting is also inclusive. Ranting says, “I am so frustrated by this. Are you bothered by this too?” The reason whining is so irritating is because it’s so self-absorbed. Ranting acknowledges the hardships of others and says, “We all get upset about this!” Whining ignores the misery of others and says, “Woe is me, I’m all alone in this!” That’s annoying because none of us are ever as alone as we like to pretend. We enjoy crucifying ourselves on the lonely nobility of misunderstood martyrdom. No one understands!

But that’s bullshit.

You may not personally know anyone who can relate to you, but if your problems are one in a billion, there are 6 other people in the world going through the same shit you are. Blowing things way out of proportion and turning minor setbacks into catastrophic disasters is repugnant. Especially considering the world is filled with people who have much worse trials and turmoils. We are surrounded by people suffering the deaths of loved ones, and crippling injuries, and diagnoses of terminal illnesses. In the face of those kinds of tragedies, those horrors that befall the lives of us all, to be an artsy bastard bemoaning creative struggles becomes trite and laughable and downright offensive.

That author complaining about venting insecurities was right. Keep your artistic gripes to yourself.

We should all be so lucky. Dying hospital patients would gladly trade places with any starving artist.

Yet, for me, for my frustrations in my writing, something strange and unexpected has happened.

I have completely lost all faith in my potential for success and yet, I still have no desire to quit.

That seems to be a self-destructive mentality the likes of which I can not fathom.

Recently, I confessed this lack of faith to an acquaintance of mine. Came right out and told her that I expect every single book I write to be a financial failure. I don’t have any faith in myself to sell books. I don’t think people will ever buy my stuff. Sure, someday if I’m lucky, I might become popular enough to sell a book or two a week, but I will never be an author selling enough books to earn a living. I sincerely think I will never make it. I will never succeed. I will never pull this off. There is absolutely no way I will ever make a living as a writer.

When I told my acquaintance this, she asked me the obvious question. She said, “Then, why are you doing it? If you really feel that way, why don’t you just quit? Go back to working at Disney and forget about writing.”

And I didn’t have an answer for her beyond the fact that I have no choice. And I’m not talking about that melodramatic bullshit you hear from writers like, “I have to write or I’ll die.” or “I have to write to stay sane.” That’s a load of crap. The only people who lay those claims are nobodies who want to convince themselves they are “special” or “gifted” or “answering a calling” and they are all full of shit. Writing isn’t oxygen. No author on earth is reliant upon it. I can quite easily keep breathing and remain mentally stable without writing. Nevertheless, something in me, an instinct I can not quantify, is telling me, “I have to finish this next writing project.” I have to. There’s something inexplicably important about it. It has to be done. For reasons I don’t understand. For reasons I don’t even believe are real. For reasons I can’t imagine or define. Yet, despite my own sense of futility and skepticism, I know there is no option to quit. Every fiber of my being tells me this must be done. This endeavor must be seen to completion. Doing it as quickly as possible is imperative.

The thought of quitting, the notion of giving up, fills me with dread and nausea. The mere thought of being a quitter makes me reel with vertigo. There is absolutely no way that quitting is a viable option. Makes me horrified and sick to my stomach to even entertain such an idea. I can not deviate from this path.

I have no explanation for this diametrically opposed mentality. “I’m going to fail, but I’m not going to quit.” That’s not exactly the type of slogan they put on workout shirts. You don’t see many triathletes expressing that attitude.

They say you have to believe in yourself. No you don’t. Not really. I never believed I’d work for Walt Disney. Even after my interview, I was sure I’d never get the job. I ended up being employed by Walt Disney Studios for more than 6 years. You don’t need to believe in yourself at all. You just need to keep moving forward. Belief has nothing to do with success. Tenacity. Fortitude. Showing up day after day. That’s how you make it. I think people say “believe in yourself” because they labor under the assumption that if you cease to believe, you will cease to make an effort. Thus, everyone says you must believe in yourself, because they think only unwavering belief will preserve your dauntlessness. Not so. My efforts as a writer are unwavering even if my belief is non-existent.

Don’t take this the wrong way. Like I said at the beginning, everyone hates a whiner. Self-pity is a pathetic thing that turns off everyone. People riddled with self-pity, you don’t want to hire for a job, you don’t want have sex with, and you don’t even want to be friends with them. To be clear, this isn’t self-pity. I’m a brilliant writer. My books are absolutely fantastic. On occasion, I certainly do fall short of my potential, but when I’m at my best, I write on a level that is far beyond what most authors are capable of attaining. I’m fucking amazing. I don’t doubt my capabilities as a writer. Not for one second. What I am lamenting, what I am doubting, is that my writing will ever gain any recognition. I know I’m a great writer. I just don’t think anyone is ever going to figure that out.

Which leads me to another point.
 

“I just think it’s good to be confident. If I’m not on my team, why should anybody else be?”
– Robert Downey Junior
 

The girl who asked why I don’t give up has also scolded me for being too arrogant. Definitely not the first or last time I heard that in my life. Are you able to relate to that? Do people criticize your life too? I have been berated that no one will pay attention to my books and writing if I come across as being full of myself. I need to be more down-to-earth. Approachable. People appreciate humility and to be conceited repels my potential audience. My arrogant attitude will drive people away. Best to keep my big mouth shut and let my novels speak for themselves. The way I talk is too lofty. I need to bring it down a few notches.

I know all of that is true. And I could do it. Truth be told, for the purposes of diplomacy, I’ve done that most of my life. But, when I started these commentaries, I told myself I was done with that. I refuse to feign average intelligence, to dumb-down the way I speak, just so ordinary people can understand me. If people don’t follow what I’m saying, that’s their problem, not mine. Get a fucking dictionary. If being articulate comes across as arrogant, fine, so be it. The thing no one has ever understood, everytime people accuse me of being arrogant, is that I don’t fucking care. I don’t care how many people are offended or estranged by my attitude. As George Carlin said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that!” I don’t care if the way I talk alienates people. In fact, I’d prefer to alienate most people, if in so doing, I endear those who possess a vocabulary.

Took me many years to come to terms with the fact that I’m more misanthrope than introvert. I’m not quiet and solitary because I have some sort of endearing boyish shyness. I’m quiet and solitary because I’m thinking, “God, I fucking hate these people.” It’s not that I’m afraid to talk to people, it’s that I don’t want to waste my fucking time.

Takes awhile to learn that about yourself.

“Eric, why you so quiet? Are you shy?”

“I’m not shy, I just think you’re an asshole. Figure it’s better if I keep that to myself.”

If who and what I am pushes people away, fuck ’em.

I don’t fucking care.

All I care about achieving, is writing.

And I don’t know why.

I have no aspiration for a serendipitous fortune which writing might avail. I have no grandiose delusions of this obsession being a fate or destiny or a calling. I am not motivated by a single hope or dream. I don’t possess even the smallest shred of faith that my efforts shall be rewarded in any way whatsoever. All I have is a drive to keep moving forward, for no semblance of a reason.

I know not to what ends this shall lead. I only know it must be done to appease the will of unspoken edicts I can not articulate.

For some reason, although there admittedly be a fear underlying this strange and outlandish impulse, that ambition alone inspires a serene contentment the likes of which I have never before known. The more I write, the brighter gleams my equanimity.

I told you, get a fucking dictionary. E-Q-U-A-N-I-M-I-T-Y. Equanimity.
 

“You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.”
– Vincent Freeman