Writing may be humanity’s greatest unconsummated passion. A great many people, perhaps a majority, think at some point to take up the craft. An idea springs from a moment of divine epiphany. Or, it builds slowly, layer upon layer, as imperceptible in its form as the sculpture lying within limestone. Children’s books, memoirs, novels, histories, theology – millions of volumes in every possible genre begin to take shape, clawing at the mind from within, begging to be born. But, of course, most of these works never survive the journey from mind to page.
There are at least a thousand reasons for the miscarriage of every work that is never writ. Children, work, hobbies, school: every conceivable draw takes precedence over the quietly clamoring story within us. If the words begin to emerge they most often are swept away by flooding self-doubt, as the mind races to drown its newborn creation.
Most never allow their story to stagger outside the tight confines of their fear. Fewer still are given chance to spend their days clothing truth in the written word. Those who brave to stand naked in their words most often labor long before their light is seen. And, once born, the worded progeny must be carried a great way before she has the strength to provide for the one who bore her. Given the great lengths one must go to take the spark of a tale from conception to maturity, it is little wonder so few follow through on the desire to consummate their early flirtations with writing.
I find myself now at the point of embarking once again on this journey – a journey I have started a hundred times, only to scuttle myself within safe distance of land. Unlike most, I have been blessed more than once with the opportunity to squeeze a living out of the English language. Mind you, I wasn’t cranking out best-sellers, or polishing my Pulitzers. But, I was supplying the needs of my family with the written word, putting out work daily of which I had reason to be proud. And then I quit.
I had good enough reason at the time to leave wordsmithing behind during my working hours – a story for another day. But, I had no need to quit the tale altogether. Most writers must wait until close of day to succumb to the seduction of their words. I, too, could have done this. I could have continued to court and coax my words in the soft hours of the night. But, I did not.
Like so many others, I perceived the odds against rearing a successful issue so immense, it was best not to begin. So, I pushed the fragments and visions of my work into the dark corners of my mind, behind all my piles of illusory obligation. They rested there, patiently, beckoning only when I was too hopeful or too hopeless to quell their cries.
Six years I spent listlessly pushing them about, here and there and back again, without any sense of direction or purpose. Three years more I left them idle, convinced they were better off without me. I turned my back on myself and pressed headlong away from everything I could never escape. And still they remained, quietly faithful in the face of my rejection, waiting for me to return to myself.
Why, then, return now to this path? Why break down my carefully crafted walls to embrace and embark with my long-neglected tales? Maybe it’s the darkening shade of my mortality. Or a temporary lapse in smothering sensibility. Perhaps fear of insignificance has finally outstripped fear of rejection. No, it is far sweeter than these; ever-present and harder yet to find. It is the spirit that knows no walls, and seeks to marry heart and mind in all who will but open both.
In the embrace of this loving spirit I have found a peace that lies beyond understanding. Fear and doubt are but darkness fleeing light, and each word moving through me tears at the shade. No longer will I withhold the source of all that is good. Success and supply no longer lie atop some far mountain. They are within me, as real and certain as leaves awaiting spring’s caress. And so I write, without fear of where my words may go. Their own life and purpose will be served, carried forth by the same spirit that made them seed.