Ever drop a substantive idea in front of family and friends, and a strange silence fills the room instead of the enthusiasm you were hoping for? I think it goes for just about anyone who proposes something outside of life’s “normal” operating parameters. A fairly decent writer, Stephen King observed:
“I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”
Well, if super successful scribes are fighting the same battles, it makes it all that much easier. Although, I’ve actually not spent a great deal of time among standard social expectations. I may have been voted least likely to join the United States Marine Corps by anyone who knew me at 18-years old. When the money for college was not there, it was an attractive option for someone who really loves his country. Imperfect, yet, the best country around, even if people are happier per capita in Norway and Finland.
After hanging out with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children for six years, life got a lot more interesting with children of my own. Our two sons became a focal point for both me and my wife. I worked when I could, but spent several years at home as a stay at home dad. Oh sure, now it is cool, everyone is doing it. But, as the only dude in a grocery store in the middle of the day in the 1990’s, it was weird. I wouldn’t trade a second away for that time I was able to spend with those amazing kids. Did I mention this was Wyoming? If you think Colorado has some conservative takes on life, try being Mr. Mom around real cowboys and guys in hard hats standing around oil rigs all day.
Of course some folks will always see me as being silly to spend the rest of my waking life writing. I’m more than okay with that. Let’s jump back to my very favorite Stephen King quote about pursuing the craft:
“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. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
Yes, I am crazy, but thanks so much for checking in on the status of my sanity. I am off to get a drink of water, and get happy.