It’s 4:15 a.m. on a Thursday morning, and in a glorious reawakening, I’m back writing at the dinning room table. First time in eight years. George Winston plays the piano; my candlelight dances ever so softly; the coffee in my cup awaits a lift in between strokes on the keyboard; and I? I wonder where I’ve been. I’m not sure how many miles I’ve covered in the last eight years, or audiences I’ve spoken to. I’m not even sure if I’ve been home for a full month during that period of time. I need glasses now to see what my brain channels through my fingers, I type better than I used to. Oh how I miss writing in my journals. The ink stains and Moleskins. Yet here I am. No further from where I started.
Over the last few weeks of my book tour, I realized I needed to return. To come back home. I missed me. I missed where and why I started to write. The healing and the excoriating burns of a foaming past that wouldn’t go away. And here I am.
Don’t get me wrong, The writing studio on Lake Street above the likes of Bearcub Outfitters, The Sunglass Shoppe, and Kidd-Leavy Realty is a blessing and a haven of retreat. But this is home. A place to be with loved ones and shared memories. A warm hibernation into reality.
Describing what brought me back to this point is difficult but necessary. I was losing myself again. Just like I did two decades ago. I was off on a journey of mindless rhetoric and fanciful delusions of grandeur; however, thanks to those long hours of therapy and feeling my scars tighten, I have caught myself long before I needed the net. The cliff was shorter, and the fall less abrupt. (I’m beginning to tear up. It happens.)
The most oft questions I get are rarely about characters, or deep reaches of ethereal penetrations into the backstory of a chapter. No. They’re about how many books have you sold and how many people show up at your events, or my favorite: how many friends on Facebook. Is that why I write? Is that why I labor for hours, days, and months to produce a product measured by wealth? Perhaps it should be, but after the editors, designers, publishers, booksellers, and anyone else profiting from your work gets paid, what’s left? What amount of money can be laid into your bank account that satisfies an urge that began with a desire to be a whole person? A healthy being? Is my outpouring of my soul so shallow that I would fall into a deep depression because people on Facebook didn’t respond at some fictionalized rate that proves my worth? Sorry. I can’t keep going there. I can’t survive in a tinderbox world surrounded by glass walls.
Though, I did put me there again. No one else did that. So, I’ve made a choice. A decision to recede from the vagaries of perceptions and false fame. I shall continue to write, and I shall continue to publish, but back to the reality that I write for no one else but me. These words are my paintbrush; my tintypes bathed in sepia. Anyone may join me on my continued journey. I ask for nothing more than a smile and a hug. I ask for a depth of discussion or a sharing of life over a cup of coffee or a good single-malt. I desire peace and the grace of civility. The haunts of how many people choose your book for a book club or which group of people like or dislike your book and for what reasons shall no longer warp what I put into text.
From my broken past, I found out why I have to please everyone and be the consummate rescuer. But just as before, I was forgetting me. And in turn I forget those I love and those that love me. I’m home now. And I’m happy.