Changing Horses

I have been studying at the feet of masters. They are not the masters of my father’s generation, although I have great respect for many of them as well. They are the masters of my literary passion. People like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. People like Joni Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen. People like Neal Young and Bob Dylan. Those are the poets that speak to my heart.

When it comes to prose, Neil Gaiman, Charles DeLint, Neal Stephenson, and William Gibson light the fire in my soul. There are others, Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, J K Rowling, Sharon McCrumb, and Nora Roberts to name a few more. They have stories to tell that resonate with something in my soul. They give me something to aspire to with my writing.

I find myself once again becoming a student of literature. I find that it is not enough just to read for enjoyment anymore. I want to observe how the master turns a phrase and plucks on heart strings to form that exquisite, joyful chord of emotions. I want to understand how one sentence leads to another, one page flows into the next, until half the night is gone reading the magical story in my hands.

This is what I want now. To learn how to play the harp of people’s souls and sculpt my words to move their intellect and emotions. I understand what English class was supposed to be about. It has been attributed to George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and many others but I just remember that my mother used to say, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I have a Herculean task before me, honing my literary skills through reading, writing about what I’ve read, and ultimately writing from my soul.

It may be selfish of me to pursue this goal. The world is full of more noble pursuits than becoming a writer. It is something that has teased me all my life. I have tried to ignore it and do other things. I have done fairly well at some of them. But I find myself left cold by these other pursuits now. They are simply means to an end, a way to make a living and lord knows, we need the insurance.

I’ve never been good at business and this is one of the most competitive businesses in the world. Everyone writes, very few sell their writing, and fewer still sell enough to make a living. I joke with my writer friends that I have started a new hobby. I am collecting rejection slips. Then, when I submit a piece to a publisher, I win whatever the outcome.

I have gotten two conflicting pieces of advice about writing. One camp says to write what you know. The other suggest you write whatever strikes your fancy. They contend it’s more fun that way. I imagine that I shall do both, that way I have twice the chance of succeeding. But seriously, I think my best chance of success as a writer stems from my stubbornness. I will keep trying until I do succeed.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.