There is an old African saying that states, “when an old person dies a library is destroyed”. This has been rattling around in my head the last couple of days and so I needed to write just to see where I’m going with this. Last Thursday was my sixth and final class of Writing Fiction from Real Life at Grub Street. I really enjoyed the class and it has got my own creative juices flowing in the realm of writing fiction. Already, I have plotted out two possible short stories and have what Anne Lamott calls, that shitty first draft as both stories need a lot of work before I can even begin to let them see the light of day but it is a start. These stories, although fiction, are part of who I am for better or worse. My own way of looking at this world, how I relate to everything and everyone that I meet along the way. It all comes from my personal library that I have been accumulating all of my life, from the smallest volumes of nonsensical rhymes to the deeper plots of relationships, loves that grew and loves that soured. It is all part of a panoply that surrounds me each day and which I have been carrying throughout life. These stories abound and I hope to be able to tap into these moments to glean just a few nuggets of life that I can share with the world. Now, will everything be worthy, let’s be realistic, no. I am no sage filled with wisdom, I don’t have any pat formula that will lead to success and fortune, I’m definitely not a televangelist, don’t have the well coifed hair to be one. What I am is simply a man, a human being who in life has striven to be as good as possible and has at times failed. It is after all a human story that I seek to write, no true heroes, just everyday life where at times there are more questions than answers.
In many ways life is a gigantic, unsolvable puzzle. The piece that I sometimes think will fit neatly into place doesn’t do so and I’m forced to either look for another piece or trim the one I have to make it fit. It is a quest, a journey of epic proportions and along the way there are valleys of deep shadow that are entered and great mountains that need to be climbed. It’s is a journey that is at once filled with anticipation and wonder, but also filled with apprehension and fear.
My writing journey has just begun, I have packed up my rucksack, making sure I have the necessary items to endure the long haul. I have looked at the internal maps and listened to the wise voice in that deep place of the soul. Now I am taking those first tentative steps, groping along, seeking those hand holds where I can steady myself. At times I feel like a little child where everything I and do is one great adventure, and at other times my own fears and doubts want to hold me back. There’s a song from back in my younger days, “Carry on my Wayward Son”, I am that wayward son, trying always just to carry on, to leave just a small part of my personal library behind, for better or worse.