Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter blues

After an incredible weekend in which I cleared out the equivalent of two small trees in our backyard and the four of us put together a trampoline, today I found myself in a funk. Perhaps it was too much coffee and the crash that came from all that caffeine, but I questioned who I am as a writer and my motives for putting the pen to page. I questioned my talent and whether I still had it in me to pursue this craft.

We came to California so that I could become a screenwriter and director. I wanted so badly to just tell stories. I didn't care about acclaim and fame, in my head I saw everything with a wide scope lens, a John Williams score behind it, and Thelma Schoonmaker's editing. That's why I went to film school, to learn how to take what was in my head and make it something tangible for other people to see.

But something changed. At some point I started to think, "Awards and acclaim would be cool." I started to believe that I was just as good as any of my contemporaries making movies. Everything I wrote had some hidden incentive. "This will be the one that makes me a household name, or at least a name that gets meetings."  I lost touch with that kid, the one who just wanted to tell stories.

I look at Sophie and Jacob and I see them being so creative for the sheer joy of it. They don't feel pressure to be a success; it's just because it makes them feel good. I want that feeling again. Unfortunately, everything I do feels like it has a hidden agenda.

Okay, okay, I hear you. This isn't the type of shit you're supposed to write about when you want people to read your book. But if I'm going to use this blog as an open line to anyone who is a fan of Basement Songs in all its forms, then I'm going to just put myself out there. I don't want my book to just be about sales, I really want people to enjoy it and get something from it. Basement Songs was done for the pure joy of writing. That's what I plan to use this blog for. Otherwise, you all are going to get sick of reading about the how many copies have been sold.

Perhaps the funk came today because the hard work is about to begin. Writing letters soliciting critics to review the book is daunting. I have an intense fear of rejection. Coincidentally, the sermon at church this week was about fearlessness and how to overcome our fears. I am often reminded that the worst than can happen is someone can say "no." I don't want to go through the rest of my life like I did my early twenties, when picking up a telephone to make a phone call to even a store asking for directions brought on sweaty palms and a shaky voice.

I suppose we all have days like today, when the world suddenly goes blank and all that we've accomplished seems pointless. Luckily I came home to the loving arms of Julie, Sophie and Jacob. Sitting on the couch watching Adventure Time with Jake, laughing at Suburgatory with Soph, and snuggled into be with Julie certainly made forget about that funk. Tomorrow's a new day and by all signs, it will be a bright one. Let's hope so.

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