No matter how many years I have wanted to do this, how long it's taken for me to have the stamina to sit still long enough, and having this sense of having failed myself because I hadn't become "a real writer," I still feel conflicted about writing the book. It seemed somewhat of a futile obsession, it's perfectly possible that this would turn out to be a disaster with a perfectly quantifiable reason. I hadn't read enough books in my life, wasting it on Candy Crush, I am not knowledgeable about Greek mythology or post-colonial writers, or just too old to write about teenage years, and probably should have written this when I was young, and moved on to more sophisticated topics in my 40s.
A publisher I met off hand told me, "You will have many moments," what I garner from that, is I would have many moments of doubt and discomfort, a never ending fear that this would would not be finished, and actually wanting to quit. I have many of these moments, nothing I cannot move past, as I realize, more importantly, even if I feel terrified at the prospects of whatever negative outcome of this book, I would feel much worse if I died feeling a failure. Not having done what I was born to do.
So my new question is a matter of passions. How all consuming this need to create is, no matter what medium. I have done a lot of photography, ceramics, and the recently finished mosaic, all of which I did well at, and had I had the time, and that life didn't intrude, I would have made increasingly beautiful pieces, until I had enough of an exploration for an exhibition, and as I said before, life always got in the way. So I lamented at my friend, how this need of mine is just not that healthy nor useful, it makes me constantly question myself about whether I have done well enough, why had I not spent more time devoting myself to these projects, and never knowing if I reached my full potential, in fact knowing I had not.
Therefore, maybe if it could all go away, I would have a much easier life, to live the very comfortable, fortunate life I have, and deal with only certain disappointments that I am by far not the only person to go through. Not everyone needs a passion, not everyone needs to create, and I am not sure how I was touched by that muse since I was a child, yet with no promises I would excel beyond average and succeed in any way.
After she listened for a while, she nonchalantly leaned back, not as if she is about to say anything profound, nor anything that she had spent time thinking in order to placate me, she said it in an utterly non thoughtful way, not because she is thoughtless, but because it was simply obvious, "But without people like you, there would be no books."
"Without people like me, there would be no books," I repeated, and the profundity of that simple sentence as it relates to me, I am still digesting. Every book to ever exist came from someone like me, not a special person crowned to be great before they sat down to write and she believed I am "one of those people."
I have never seen myself as part of that tradition before, more a strange creature that felt a little lost, because everyone else seemed to just go to work, look after their children, and have aspirations that did not include sitting in front of a computer or a piece of paper, to tell a story, spending years feeling inadequate because others have put out books, always feeling there was something on the list not done, and my son and his success and happiness is not my only focus in life.
But I have found, that is fine, it is perfectly valid to want that, because the world needs thoughts, and colors, and intellect and conversations, and imagination, and sadness, and catharsis, and morals, and history and stories because people have always needed them, to transport them to and process the larger world around them.
So there, that is my reason, I don't need to know why, I don't know need to know if my friend really did whisper his story to me, or I did this because I needed to understand what happened to him, or question if I have some mental illness to feel there are voices telling me to write down something for them, or just simply wonder how my imagination and brain creates stories in my mind and thoughts about the world that I feel important and want others to know. Those are not questions I have to ask.
I just have to tell myself, over and over again, without people like me, who for whatever reason was touched by a muse at some point in their lives, there would be no books.
And that is not a world we should live in, so if I want to live in a world of books and stories, we need people to do it, and I just have to raise my hand, and volunteer.