Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brain Dump October 8, 2009

Recently, someone I consider a friend posted on her blog about the Call. Read her post here to understand what started all this.

I commented to her post the day after. It took me some time to determine what I wanted to say, how I was going to react. Now two days after and ensuing reviews of those written words, plus one bodaciously climatic conversation with my bride, I have come to my conclusions. (SPOILER ALERT This view will change over time)

Heres a the back story. In Spring of 2000 I decided I wanted to try my hand at drawing. Nothing earth shattering, I didnt want to paint the ceilings of great churches, just manipulate the pencil and shapes until the thing was recognizable.

Quite simple beginnings really. In a two year time span I obsessed over the venture, I created enough drawings to share. One thing led to another and I found myself a featured artist in three shows around my home of Atlanta. Hell, I even sold some of the works. I even let my baby go, my first large scale drawing, a 24x36 canvas that took over 300 hours to draw.

That was it, I haven’t really drawn anything sense. The paper quit telling me what it wanted to see, what it wanted to show to the world, and without that conversation before a drawing started, my muse drifted away.

The introduction to Dream State tells the story of how the book came to be. It was never intended, the original thought was to play around with words FOR MYSELF to relieve some stress, try to get rid of all the shit that had piled into my brain. Eventually it took on a life of its own, the words started to flow under their own fruition. About two years into playing, I decided to throw it out there to see if there was interest in the creation. That decision made, I finished the story on one of the highest notes of my life. The ending floored me and I had no idea where it came from.

Then came the research into how to publish a book. What a cluster that industry is. I understand now why many of the great authors wound up killing themselves. They weren’t crazy, they were frustrated. Six months ticked away and no response from the agents. Sorry, lots of response, none favorable. Then I got an offer from a joint venture firm, and I took it. I decided when I went out for this first one that I would go as far as to self publish just to get the book into hands.

Here I am now almost six months after that original contact with the firm and I am still waiting for the proof copy. Soon, I keep telling myself. Just a couple more days and they will notify me that it's in the mail. It’s almost as bad as waiting for the call. Let’s face it, when it is available is anybody gonna buy it? Will it be as big as I think it can be? Will the public like it? I have turned into the Head Cheerleader in high school, overly obsessed with people thinking I am attractive and talented. It’s amazing.

To the point, Bobby, damn you’re long winded.

In all the events, the transactions of getting published and released, I made a mistake. I forgot what I was doing. I was supposed to be having fun, creating something for the pure enjoyment of creating. In the beginning I didn’t care what others thought. In the beginning I just wanted to see if I could tell a story.

Then my motivation changed when I decided to publish. I wanted to illicit conversation, I wanted to talk about the characters, I wanted reactions, I wanted to feed my ego. (There I said it)

I started writing little snippets of poems, (never done it before) and I got quick reactions, my ego got stroked. I sat and pounded out two and three poems a night for about three weeks. Then it was gone. I have tried to write poetry recently, only to look at it and say Really? You’re kidding right?

Back to the point. I have been struggling with what’s next, what’s the next premise, the next idea? And just as surely as my ego drove me to write more and more, it has turned against me. My ego or its evil twin, had filled my head with all the self doubt, loathing, and rational reasons why I should not try again.

Why mess up a good thing? You did it now go try something else.

Problem is I’m hooked. The feeling I got when the story came together, when that last piece fell into place, seeing the reactions on people’s faces, all mind blowing.

I wrote a little a couple weeks ago when the day job had turned into a 24 hour a day job, the secret to life is acceptance. And in that acceptance of self we can find freedom and peace.

To close this long winded post, I will continue writing. I will continue creating, for at the core of who I am, that is what I do. But, I will change how I do it, I will gag the back seat driver in my head and write for the moment, in the moment, with no preconceived expectation of the results. I will write without a goal, or a direction, and let the stories tell themselves. As Dave Matthews said about “Corn Bread” on “Live at Peidmont Park,” “…If you don’t like it, what I’m s’possed to do!”

I can quit the exhausting worry about the call.

Thanks for reading.

Robert E


  1. NovelHelp (Claudia)October 8, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    I read Winslow Eliot's blog (link above) and it got me thinking. I've spent most of my life in support of others. I used to "toy" with writing, but I'm really neither a writer nor an author. (OK, I used to write technical manuals - yawn.) Many times I have asked myself, should I have done more? Should I BE "somebody?"

    It finally occurred to me that I'm happiest when I'm the support structure, taking care of others, the sidekick, the straight "man." I never did enjoy being on stage. And unfortunately, I guess it took until I reached the "half a century" mark (ugh) to realize that I no longer define myself by what I do for a living, but by who I am. Personal happiness being the goal.

    If the poetry and art make you happy, keep it up! If the writing is rewarding, well, then you know what to do!

  2. Thanks Claudia. The last week has been a roller coaster.

    Robert E