I have a secret to tell you.
It’s something important to me, but otherwise mundane, and it’s something I don’t like to admit.
I am about to tell you why I want to publish my books.
I write because I so desperately love telling stories. I feel an incredible urge to just get what’s in my head out here, in the world, so that others can read it and I can know I’m not the only one witnessing these people and these worlds.
I suppose that’s part of why I want to publish my stories too, but it’s not the true reason. The true reason is that I somehow associate publishing a book to aquiring the things I want.
Don’t misread that as a desire to be wealthy in a monetary sort of way. Wealthy in a life sort of way is the desire of most human beings; the desire to be happy, healthy, and in the ‘perfect’ home.
Those are some of the things I want, I’ll admit. It would be nice to be healthy, it would be nice to be happy, it would be nice to have enough money to keep myself comfortably buried in the newest technology and highest culture.
What I really want is a place that is mine.
The inspiration for this blog post was that I saw someone who had that.
I am a fan of Anne Rice, and the lovely lady is selling her house. It’s expensive, far beyond what I could ever afford in my lifetime (assuming nothing changes) and very well designed. It was built for a woman with a million friends. Friends, fans, family… Many bedrooms, places to entertain all these transient housemates.
I wanted it. I wanted it so badly I felt like I was going to be torn inside out with this overwhelming want. I didn’t want it because it was hers, though. I didn’t want it because it was pretty. I didn’t want it because it was a big ole ‘perfect’ house in a ‘perfect’ place.
I wanted it because it was filled with light and creation. Things became real there. Stories were created, built upon, told to the world. Private stories flourished and became secrets between lips and ears, between priveleged minds and souls. I wanted it because it’s something I crave deeply: a niche, a space to weave tales. A space to entertain with comfort, to sit in the hours of the early morning and feel the cool breeze, to type and paint and have family come to stay.
I want my stories to be the things that make it possible to have that.
I don’t mean that I want them to bring in millions of dollars in royalties. That would be pleasant, but what I mean is that I want my world to be built upon creation. I want the house I transform into a home to be the result of the successful birthing of my mind into this universe. Just as people want their family to be the result of their creation of new life, I want my place in the world to be shaped by my stories.
I’m not a fool, though.
After realising that this was why I wanted that house so badly, I immediately felt a hint of despair. I feel, with a kind of certainty, that my books will never be best-sellers like those of Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, or any of the other great authors whose names are known around the world. I know it. Up until now I had accepted this fact. It didn’t change that I wasn’t going to kick and scream to change it, to fight for a chance to be in that tiny percentage of the literary world, to have my little plot of land with its little well-lit house and a place where the cool air can find me in the morning.
I do not have much luck. I have a pretty good sense of survival, but luck? Luck is the thing that gets these people to where they are. Luck, imagination, and tenacity.
I question my imagination all the time. I believe that all true original ideas have died out, that everything is just recycled something else. I have no issue with that, there’s no problem with recycling knowledge. We do that with the very language we communicate in, verbally or otherwise.
What I do have a problem with is the concept of being mundane.
I don’t want to be special. I am happy being an unknown in this great big world. I want my stories to be special.
I want people to fall in love with the characters. I want people to long for the world I created.
I am well aware that what I have right now is not what people love, however. I’m aware that it doesn’t have that special glamour to it that makes people feel for the story they are reading.
Do you know what that tells me?
That tells me that I will never be there, in my house filled with light, balanced on creation.
It tells me that at best, with a lot of work, I’ll be able to push myself out of the lower-middle-class bracket and into plain middle-class, or perhaps even upper-middle-class. That’s only if things go extremely well, and don’t push me further down the ladder. I can have the curse of the middle-class: Having things that look like the possessions of a successful upper-class person, but knowing it’s not the real deal.
I can have a house filled with light, and rooms for entertaining. High ceilings and brightly painted walls. It will be built on hard work and plain earth, honorable things and desirable in their own way; but I fear it will suffocate all I had within me that enabled my own form of creation.
The fact that I believe this, however, has given me new strength to fight hard to get my dream. There’s nothing like the scent of failure to push you harder to get to that elusive finish line.
Wish me luck.