I found something out about myself over the last few weeks.
I want to be a writer. No, this wasn’t my grand revelation. I’ve known that for a few years now. However, what I didn’t understand, what I failed to fully comprehend, was just how difficult it is to BE a writer.
I have a story. My story is about an eighteen year old boy/man (he’s on the cusp) who discovers he is the ‘Sahrail’ – for simplicities sake, we shall reduce this concept to that of a “savior” – which means he is the epicenter of what it means to be “magically inclined”. Now, here’s the twist, it turns out that he has spent his entire life living a lie. He actually thought that he was powerless (I know, right!) and had spent the past eighteen years repressing an innate sense of inferiority and uselessness into one of the core tenets of his personality. So far so original. What kid hasn’t felt like they were nothing? Like they were the worst at everything or the odd one out? Well, that’s exactly where this story came from. I spent a miserable child hood being told I was worse than nothing and combatted it by pretending I was some magical force for good, yet to be raised up above the common swirl of cruelty I was trapped in and ascend to heights far beyond even my, child-like mind could conjure. And then I grew up.
It turns out when youre a teenager, a whole host of other shit comes raining down upon you. Now you have to justify your pitifulness. Now you cant just be the worst at math, no, now you have to have a goal. Who the fuck do you want to be?
Well, I’ll tell you. I want to be the mother fucking Sahrail. Always have and, until recently, I thought I always would do.
Let’s fast forward a decade of self loathing, self harm and self fuckery and, finally, I feel like I’ve found my calling. But, guess what? Now you get to feel guilty (and blessed, this isn’t some weepy “oh woe is me” bullshit) for knowing what you want because some other fucktard hasn’t found out who they want to be. In fact, some people never, EVER do. So now you have this “middle-class-without-being-middle-class” guilt thing at finally pulling yourself from the quagmire of self hatred you’ve just yanked yourself out from.
But I was that fucktard. I was the person that never knew who I was. And why was I a fucktard? Because I always was that person that never knew. THAT WAS ME, HALLE – FUCKING – LUJAH! But I was too caught up in societies fuckery to understand that that was O.K.
Now, I don’t want it to seem like I am speaking down to anyone. So, here’s the clincher. Get ready. Remember I said that I knew who I wanted to be? Well, it’s FUCKING HARD! Like, really, really hard. Sometimes I think it was easier not knowing because then, just over the horizon, just out of sight, was the possibility that I could be someone spectacular. And, in the dream, once I found that it would be nothing but easy times, great living and a carefree existence (thanks a fucking lot for that EVERY movie I watched as a child. Except you Titanic, thanks for keeping shit real. Oh, and The Fox and The Hound – shit got real there too.) But, as you might have guessed, it’s not all pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Its addiction. Its genuinely wanting to open a vein because I’ve hit such a wall of writer’s block it feels like even Bear Grylls would say, “Fuck this, I’m out.” It’s feeling like a failure because I cant seem to string a sentence together and, unlike an exam or uni or whatever else I was told I should want to do, I actually give a fuck about what I write. And the ironic thing is: I don’t even write well. Couldn’t properly tell you how to use a semi-colon, nor a comma, or parenthesis or even if I just used the word ironic correctly (Alanis Morissette I’m looking at you) but this isn’t the 1500’s. I cant make a living as a “story teller”, like some travelling bard that sings a wee short story and gets to sleep at the Inn that night. I have to learn. There is no easy choice. And why?
My story matters to me. Its whole world. An entire world that I created. It has place names, history, folklore, fairytales, bad guys, good guys, I don’t give a fuck guys, ships, war, character names that make me want to write a ‘baby book’, enough “Easter eggs”, sub plots and faux meanings to keep Facebook and anyone else who cares, a lifetime of guessing, second guessing and hating themselves for not seeing the obvious. But, above all that, it’s me. It’s a childhood of escapism, twisted into fantasy and poured onto a page. To read this book, is to read the stories I would console myself with as I went to sleep at night. But to be able to read it; I need to get it on paper and convince someone to buy it, print it, and advertise it. (see, just used a semi colon, couldn’t tell you why but a wee green squiggle didn’t appear underneath it, so, whatcha-gonna-do?)
That is, when I finish the Fucker (as it will be affectionately named until it starts playing ball with me. First draft I hardly knew ye.)
But I will finish it.
Every sentence is a battle, every paragraph a war – and I’m winning. I know the book doesn’t want to defeat me; it wants to make me better. It wants me to second guess every word choice, every plot twist, because this isn’t some bullshit “oh I came up with a character so I basically wrote it tee hee hee heee”, this is how I want to continue on in the world. How I will put food on the table and a roof over my head. I’ve quit my job. It was taking up too much time, exhausting me, I wasn’t writing so it had to go. My stories come first. They have too. They kept me alive when I needed them most and I will do the same to them. We’re the only family either one have got – and we have to stick together. Brothers in arms.
But it is an addiction. I can’t not do it. That took a long time for me to understand. Drafts one, two and three of Conniption came “easy”. I was just writing a story. Now I’m writing a book and that’s a whole knew basket of fuckery.
I have my last ever exam for uni tomorrow but I’m writing this. I’ve spent all day fixing the first two chapters of a book I am pinning all my hopes on. A lot of people think this is a mistake. A lot of people think I am throwing away a bright future for a “pipe dream”, as they call it. And that’s O.K.. Because when you find out who it is that you are (and I pray that you do with all my heart, if only to stop the guilt) I promise, you will have my undivided moral support. Because if you don’t give your everything to become who you are, then who can you ever really hope to be?
Most people have an idea for a book. Many people start one. Few people get published. Even less make an impact on the world.
But no one has written this story before.