September 3, 2009

I keep nearly all of my fiction books in my bedroom. Since they number somewhere around 600-700 volumes, you can imagine what that looks like. The walls are lined with bookshelves, which are themselves crammed to overflowing. I designed it that way for a reason, however. Books are my talismans. They make up the fortress that surround me when I sleep. I find it comforting to wake up and see them all there, quietly waiting, sentinels whose magic and knowledge keep whatever lurks in the darkness at bay.

I write in there too. Though most of my business is done in my office, the meat and bones of what I do take place in that room, where I can curl up on my soft bed with my laptop, surrounded by all those voices, some of them still speaking after hundreds of years. Shakespeare keeps me company. So does Dostoevsky, and Milton, and Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Jane Austen keeps my time. Isaac Asimov types furiously along beside me. Hemmingway and Poe drink in the corner.

They're good company, if a little daunting. My prose wilts like a weed in a forgotten parking lot when I really stop to think about how it compares to what surrounds me on the walls. Most of the time, I try not to think about it, but occasionally it gets to me. I look at those words on the screen, and I wonder, who am I kidding? This is horrible, a monumental waste of time.

But then I stop, and I look around, and I remember that at least some (if not all) of them went through the same thing, or at least something close to it, at one point or another. Everyone has self-doubts. And truthfully, when it comes down to it, I don't write because I think I'll make money at it, or because I think I'll have some sort of fame or illustrious career down the line. I write because I have to, because, for as long as I can remember, it's been my vocation, whether or not I wanted to admit that. I write because, well, what else would I do? In the end, though we all look outside occasionally for validation, the only real opinion that matters is mine. Who gives a shit if anyone else ever reads what I write?

I look up, and they're nodding and smiling. I smile back, and look down again, down at the terrible prose on the screen, the stuff I write, the stuff that makes me happy. I put my fingers on the keys, and I continue.

03 September 2009


El Prez said...

You have a beautiful writing voice. Keep doing what you love for the love of it. That is the best advice I've ever received, and it applies here. The world will notice - it's just big and slow.

Adele said...

I think my other half would pitch a fit if I filled the bedroom with books. I'd love to though.

Carinthia said...

Yeah, it is great. And on top of all that, I usually have a giant reading pile beside my bed! Luckily, my husband is as big a reader as I am, so he loves it.

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