Friday, November 7, 2008

"Dear Cousin, I'm writing..."

I was originally going to post some photos of my jack-o-lanterns from Halloween, but this letter I wrote to my cousin seems to have preempted that post in importance. Jack-o-lanterns will be on their way next week, Friday the 14th of November 2008.

"Dear Cousin, I'm writing..."

I was wondering if I could talk to you openly, honestly about something. About myself.

Recently I was writing in my journal and I was thinking about all the writing I've done this year (2008 has been my most productive year of writing to date with four ezines completed, a nearly-600-page fantasy wuxia novel written, various notes, short stories, a brief script for a friend that may be turned into a short film, and much more) and as I was sitting on the couch in the living room writing in my journal, thinking about all this writing I've done this year and I found myself coming to the conclusion, oddly aloud and matter-of-factly, "I've found my path."

It was such an instant, honest moment I almost missed it. But slowly it sank in and I had a quiet moment in my life I cannot describe as anything but Zen. I finally realized I had become who I was meant to be, doing what I do best and living it with a purpose.

I have a lot of things in my life. I'm almost obnoxiously blessed. For instance, after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C at the age of 18 and told by doctors it was a killer disease (which it truly is... Hep C is projected to kill more people the world over by 2020 than HIV and AIDS combined) and then at the age of 30 I was told I had the one type of Hep C that can currently be treated. By the time I was 32 I was cured.

But if there's any one thing I have (besides an incredible wealth of friends and loved ones) it's my voice. Since 2002 I have realized not everyone has a voice and it never occurs to some they could speak out if they chose to do so. Perhaps they know something I don't. Perhaps they know they are fated as someone without a powerful voice. In 2002 I watched a woman turned away from public assistance because she was not yet "officially poor" despite being homeless. In 2005 I watched another woman collapse in an office, crack her head against a dias and people around her assuming she was having a seizure. When paramedics came we all learned she had passed out because she hadn't eaten in nearly 3 days. When asked why she hadn't eaten in 3 days, she replied simply, "I don't have any money for food."

I don't feel any strong obligation or duty to others that may not have as strong a voice as I. If I have any obligations it's to my sweetheart and my family and friends who have always supported me and all I owe them is to do my best in life. But moreso, I have a duty to myself to use my voice, to follow my path.

I've said elsewhere in other writings I cannot match the drama of life. I decided long ago not to try. Instead I decided to be a sponge (we are all sponge, so I discovered while attending art school, in that we extrapolate experiences to determine ourselves) and filter through my voice the stories of the lives I come across and bear witness to, to write with a passion and a fire and anger and hatred and outrage and a brutal honesty and most of all by the gods most of all to write with love - love for my subjects, for my characters, for Johannah, for myself, for my friends, for all those that love me, for those that hate me and ultimately for myself - and if in the end someone somewhere can step up and say "Yeah, that's kinda like me and my life" then I've done what I've set out to do. I've followed my path.

I'm writing for the hopes of wealth. I'm writing for the hopes of a peaceful home for Johannah and myself and our cats and other various future pets. I'm writing for those that died too young. I'm writing for those that walk at my side. I'm writing for the veterans that allowed me a chance at this voice. I'm writing for those that have quieted voices. I'm writing for myself. I'm writing about life as I see it around me, not just my own. I'm writing because these small voices, these muted stories that go on around me every day, are good stories when well told. I'm writing for my life. I'm writing because we are our stories, each of us. We gain our morals from heroes in stories. We look at our darker selves in the villains.

When I moved from Michigan to California at teh age of 7, I slept on a plastic chaise lounge for some time. When I moved from California to Maui in 2001, I slept on a much too small (my feet hung well over the edge) futon on the floor. When I moved from Maui back to Michigan in 2005, I slept on an air matress on my brother's floor. When I moved from my brother's house to a rental in Flint Township, I slept on another, larger futon on the floor.

I'm writing to overcome.

I'm writing because I see a lot of damage in the world and maybe that's how things are meant to be, but I'm writing because even if pain is the natural order of things I cannot be ashamed of healing wounds both old and new.

I'm writing because I am a writer and I have nothing else but to write.

As I sit writing this, mulling over many matters, I am confused almost to the point of frustration about which story I should tackle next. There's so many inside me. There's the novel about boxing. There's the absurdist cyberpunk novel about classicism and race and duty and revenge. There's old Silas walking home upon being released from prison after serving 17 years and has no other way to get home but to walk the 900 miles seperating himself and his beloved city, his beloved mother. There's the next fantasy wuxia novel that will complete the overall story arch of Xiao-tep the Ankh-fish of 100,000 Sorrows and Beauty and his martial artist cohorts.

How odd a thing it is that my largest complaint now is that I do not know what next to write. If that's all I can complain about, I suppose I haven't much to complain about.

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