As the road opens up in front of my eyes
The only limitation is in my mind
From the song, ‘The Road’ by The Alarm (songwriters Harry Macdonald / Jack Mc Allister)
Over the last week or so, I felt like I was sitting at the starting line waiting to take off and write but I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t because the third book in my non-fiction trilogy didn’t have a title I liked (the one I had was too wordy though that’s now the subtitle) and I couldn’t think of anything shorter that would fit. Then the term ‘The Road’ came to me.
The Road is like the blank page writers face every day. It’s full of possibilities both good and bad. But the reason I needed a title for my writing book that I could use in a shorthand way was to put a lot of big ideas into one place.
My relationship to writing is complicated and that’s how the idea for my writing book began a couple of years ago. It’s a long story with twists and turns and a lot of knowledge that was acquired through a lot of hard work and struggle. Also, writing has been a form of therapy and recovery for me and that’s not an easy story to tell either.
But I think the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is shutting out the dumb-ass voices and echoes of people wanting to berate me for making something much more complicated than it really is. These voices are dumb-asses because they haven’t done the work I have and put in the time and effort. I know not those shit-heads rule my life but like my other two projects in this trilogy of mine, I also know how hard it is to reduce those voices to just faint echoes.
I’ve been writing seriously since I was ten years old. That’s thirty-six years and a lot of things have happened writing-wise. I’ve seen the publishing side of the business go from print to digital and beyond. I’ve seen writing styles change and trends come and go. And in just the last four years alone, I’ve seen a reckoning among writers in real-time and in public. There’s quite a story to tell even from my tiny perspective.
I know I’ll have to work my ass off to tell this story in my own way and hope that it will work for both writers and people who don’t write more than a Facebook post or a grocery list. And I know there are people who won’t sneer at me for writing in depth like I will be doing. These are the people who are interested, and at times fascinated by the writing process. I wish it was all magical fairy tales but my writing experiences are more often than not like Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
The last eight months or so would have been impossible to endure for many people without creative outlets like books, movies, tv shows, and other forms of art and media. We’ve all struggled to get a hold of our racing thoughts and raging anxiety and if we’re lucky enough, we find a book or something creative that we can grab onto and use to pull ourselves out of the storm. I’ve wanted to be a part of that world of creative endeavors all my life and have had to fight the asshole-voices who said I couldn’t do it and was a fool to do so. I have to remember that those voices are in the minority and not in my daily life.
Today I will set out to re-outline the writing book and hopefully get a start on the introduction. With this writing book I hope to be able to explain what writing is really like when you commit yourself to it, what kind of work it takes to make something come together on a page, and what writing can reveal to you about yourself and the world you live in. Since this was the last of the trilogy I came up with, it’s fitting that it’s the last book to come together.
I do want to say this: if anyone reading this thinks that writing is easy… piss off. I don’t just dash stuff off here, proofread for typos, then go out and dance like an idiot or something. I care about what I write and how I write it, and I will not take any kind of shit for that. And for any writer reading this, don’t take shit for doing something you want to do, and love on occasion.
Like the song lyric I quoted above, the blank page is the road I take daily even though I haven’t always been able to put words onto the page itself. But like the song lyric also says, the only limitations are in your mind, voices and echoes and all. Those voices and echoes can fade if you get on the road and get those wheels turning, or face the blank page and get words on there.