I have just finished reading Full Dark No Stars by my idol Stephen King. Ok, I have one short story to go, but it is a bonus one that was added to later print runs. So, I have already had the pleasure of reading the stories that were intended for this collection and the as always brilliant dialogue that S.K. offers at the end of this works.
One thing he said struck a chord inside me. He said that (and I paraphrase because the book is not to hand currently) writers are rarely honest about ourselves or what we do. We use humor or all manner of tactics to deflect from the truth about who we are.
So here we go…
This is ME!
In short, I am a nut. I have ridiculously low self-esteem and suffer from mood swings that see my feeling on top of the world one minute and bottom of the shit heap the next, no cause, rhyme or reason for it. I often feel angry, at myself not at others I should add, and have been known to silently berate myself for days at a time. I suffer from such a phobia of social interaction that I border on being a recluse, and if it were not for my wife and kids I would never socialize at all. Not because I don’t want to, but because I just can’t do it. My lack of social skills and inability to interact with others leaves me hovering one step away from being a manic-depressive wreck.
I was bullied pretty much the entire way through school and to this very day do not have a single friend in my life. Not counting those few close people I have whose relationships with me exist only via e-mail and social media.
I am neurotic, and am chronically disorganized in real life. Yet I lie to myself and pretend to be organized, thereby annoying myself for never being in a tidy place.
I am not religious yet with each passing day I find myself realizing that I do believe. Maybe not in the bible, but in a spiritual world, in a world of good and evil, and of lives beyond those that we are aware of. It is very much a side of myself I really want to explore, once I am brave enough to meet myself.
I never went to university and it is the single largest regret of my life. I write because, as we all do, I need to write. I physically have to sit and write, if I don’t I get even worse with regards my above issues.
There are only two things I seem to be even half way good at. Being a father to my children, and writing stories. I do not even claim to be a great person. Not all of the time at least. I am too withdrawn and moody to even tell myself I am halfway close to perfect. I love my wife, and I love my kids. I love my life and where I am right now.
Yet I am constantly hard on myself for not doing more. I work all day. Do I do my very best at work? No, I give more than average, I push myself, but could go further. Why don’t I? Because it is not what I want. I feel underappreciated, not listened to and basically stuck and stagnant in my job. I want to write, and yet find myself equally lost when it comes to taking that next step in my writing. I can publish all the books I want, but without sales, and a successful advertising process, I will never make it.
I am proud of my writing, I am proud of what I have achieve, and almost exploded with pride when my son said to me tonight at dinner. “When I grow up I want to be a writer just like my papa.” yet instantly covered it up with a joke about him being the only one who calls me a writer. See, there is that deflection again.
I am constantly struggling for money, but then again who isn’t in this economy ($9 a gallon for gas this week). I have all these plans and idea, home improvements and holidays I want to take, but know deep down that unless my writing takes off I will never be able to do them.
If asked, I make jokes about my writing, about why I do it, but the truth is I take is seriously, I devote my life to it and do not regret a single word. I know, and I don’t say this just to sound like a positive thinker, but because I know it, the same way I know the sun will rise tomorrow and that I will no doubt break the diet I have been on since… um… dinner. I will be a success as a writer, there will come a time when I can support myself primarily based around my writing. I do not say with it will come unimaginable riches, but certainly enough to live a normal life.
I don’t write for money, another sentence that I have used before. Yet it’s truth is as honest as I can be.
So there you have it. This is me. I am a grumpy old man trapped inside a 27-year-old body. Cynical beyond my years, yet at the same time, my cynicism should be seen as humor and my attempts to deflect people away from me.
How is that for honest? Once again Mr. King has inspired me, and in a way that goes beyond fiction. The question is, can you accept me as me, or only as the image that has existed of my previously?
The truth is hard, it is harsh and unloving. Yet I embrace it, I feel good about it, and have no regrets about revealing it to you. Are you ready to face the truth about yourselves?