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November 15, 2008

When I was in 1st grade, my buddy Sila and I wrote a book together called Superfriends. It was this great story about two friends (us) who wore capes and could fly around and help people. We wrote every word and made all the pictures. Then it was laminated and through some connection with our teacher, the bookstore in town ended up placing the book upright in their sidewalk display window for a week or two.

It was amazing. I was a real writer! Not even ten years old and I was already able to walk down the street and see my name and Sila’s on the front of our book in the window of the bookstore.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It is one of my clearest memories and I still find myself going back to it over and over again when I wage the internal battle inside about whether or not I am a writer. Now, I know I am a writer. I write. And since I was a kid, I have done a lot of writing – journal entries, stories, poems, lyrics, love letters, two novels, children’s stories, and now this blog. It seems like I sit down and start a hundred stories a year and then bail out on them after a couple thousand words. I literally have hundreds of beginnings. I go back and read them now and I find crazy things like a name for a character I was using in a story I started in college is now my son’s name and and stretch of road that an incredibly important scene took place on in my first novel which I wrote when living in Oregon is now a mile away from my home in Vermont. Strange, no? These things do come around again.

So I’ll decide on a story idea and get into it for a while. Then I stop writing for a few weeks out of pure laziness and I lose the story. I’ve written two full (unpublished) novels at this point, so I’ve proven to my inner-doubter that I can sustain a story for a novel, and so I’m wondering if my problem is that I’ve just not found the right form again. I’ll go back and read some of the beginnings and let myself dream about where the story might go but I rarely move on those dreams.

But like the way my arms move when I sit down at a drum kit, what comes most easily and naturally to me are children’s stories. In them I find I can be more poetic and free and dreamy than when trying to stick with my “adult” novels. My two kids (and a third in my wife’s beautiful belly) are such a source of inspiration for me…why not try to use that more? Why not go with that flow which seems to leak out of my fingertips like my bathtub faucet (a week ago, before we finally called the plumber)? No reason.

There is destiny. And there is work. And I believe in the two together. And no matter what I may tell myself in my weaker moments, I believe in my future. My present is pretty damn amazing right now, too, don’t get me wrong (and knock on that wood right over there) but I know there’s a time for me when I’ll be home writing during the day instead of daydreaming about being home writing during the day in my cubicle.

Before she was my wife, about 14 years ago back in high school, she told me I was going to write books and be a great father to our kids. She was at least partly right so far (if I do say so myself). What makes me think she wasn’t one hundred percent right?

Well, it’s something to think about anyway.

And now, when I put my kids to bed, they ask me to tell them a story and I tell them stories of the Superfriends. Except my kids are the main characters now and every night there’s a new adventure. Their favorite so far is the one where they fly across the world to help the kids who lost their soccer ball. Don’t ask me why, but they love that one to the point where they request it now. Yes, these things really do come full circle.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2008 6:54 pm

    Oh, she’s right alright. You do write books, lad.

    (But what’s with changing addresses?)

  2. November 15, 2008 7:33 pm

    Dude. Nice ta meetcha. I feel you. How long have you been reading? WD I mean, not real stuff.

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