First off, a little thanks to those of you who have stayed subscribed & have been coming by to check the site. I know I’ve been pretty quiet this summer, but school’s return will allow me far more time for the writing bug, so I will be here more frequently.
Now, for the actual purpose of this post.
I was logged into Facebook the other night, playing my favourite time-killer, Bejewelled Blitz. I noticed they had added a new feature, which were badges you earned. The way to earn a badge was to play the game & add your score to your running total. As you achieved certain totals, you leveled up. I admit it, this was insanely addictive to an old-school RPG fan such as myself. Something about pushing to new levels, achieving new accolades, it just had me hooked. And why? I didn’t get anything for it other than a shiny bade graphic next to my name. As the volume of hours I had wasted on this effort dawned on me, I started thinking that there was a blog post in the experience. It wasn’t until tonight that I realised what that was.
Bear with me, I will get to the point.
The notion of this blog post finally hit me as I sat reading Neil Gaiman’s latest blog entry. His latest was about attending the read-through of his script for the next season of Doctor Who. I couldn’t repress this gleeful thought that maybe, one day, that could be me! It was then that reality visited me, and I found out what this blog post is about.
Thanks for hanging in there. My point is coming, like next. You’ve been so very patient.
The point is simply this; It is easy to lose ourselves.
How’d I get there from a video game and some wicked author envy? I realised how much time I invest in chasing something that is either meaningless, or improbable. It gave me pause to question my motives for writing The Veil. It made me ask, “What do I really want from this?” Because it is so easy to dive into something and lose track of why you did it in the first place.
Why do I play Bejewelled Blitz? Is it really to pursue medals and meaningless titles? No. I do it because I have a little fun, it flexes some minor hand-eye-coordination and it kills time while I clear the clutter from my brain. Do I need to reach the next level? Should I forgo working on my novel or spending time with my family just to achieve that next shiny? No, I shouldn’t. But it’s so easy to lose sight of that when you slap on the blinders.
Why am I writing The Veil? Is it because I truly think I’m going to be as big as Neil Gaiman? Haha, well, maybe that’s one of those childish dreams I can’t let go of, but no, it’s not the true reason I want to write the book. The true reason goes back to my parents’ basement when I was fourteen and I hammered out over one-hundred pages of a novel. I did it because I loved it. I did it because the act of creation was thrilling. Because after pouring hours into something, it was almost magical to go back and read it and realise that they were all my words. Truth be told, I still get a little thrill when I read a chapter I’ve finished and I see glimmers of something shiny to be buffed into beauty later.
It’s a universal trait. We all lose ourselves. How many books, movies, games, etc. are about failing to realise who we are, falling into a desired crowd, only to discover our true self doesn’t belong there. It’s so often the topic of coming-of-age type stories. But what shocked me as I hit my mid-thirties was that I realised nothing changed. Here I am an adult, and there’s still days I lose myself and look in the mirror wondering who is looking back at me. Sometimes it’s disheartening. Sometimes I need to stop and evaluate why I’m doing the things I do.
This isn’t really about writing, it’s more about living.
I suppose when all things boil down, there needs to be realistic and meaningful purposes behind the things we do, or else our end result is shallow. That’s not what I want for The Veil. I don’t want something that was written purely for the purpose of trying to make money or finding market success. I want The Veil to be something I am proud of. I want it to be a statement of who I am.
Blinders off. Full steam ahead.