September 26 th , 2008
Started rereading “Pilgrim's Bay”. Have been away from it long enough to be able to return and read it without being tainted by the intimacy. It's impossible for a writer to create good literature if he's working via detachment. But it's even more difficult for a writer to create good literature if he's too intimate with the words. And so, I find it best to write. Let it sit. Then return. The novel's been available for purchase for some time via LuLu. It's a way I've been doing it for years. No agent to help me out. Rejection letters coming in. Editors chucking my manuscripts in round files across the land. And so, I do it myself. No sense waiting for anybody to tell me whether or not my writing's worthy of print. No sense waiting for someone to believe in it as much as I do. No sense in waiting for a publisher to decide if they can make money off it or not.
That's not what we're in it for.
We're in it—all of us—because of that something tucked away deep. Ticking at the core. We plug away at it. Day after day. Punching in. Punching out. Juggling roles and responsibilities so that we are safe, sane, fed, and keeping at the keepin' on.
S.B. sat with me the other night. She was reading the paperback. I was reading the hardcover. We were pleased. Only a quarter of the way into it, but pleased nonetheless. Aden, Jake, and Kali. Living in that small town. Each of them part of the surface and part of the deep. Moved by currents they cannot control.
In any case, if everything feels right when we come to that last page—Aden and Kali together in that cemetery—then I can okay the book so that it is available for wider distribution. And still, there are no guarantees.
But there never are. And banking on things that do not exist will fill pockets with lint and hollow space. It's best for me to write. Write. And write some more. Publish on my own when I feel ready. And then let my babies out into the world. Hoping that I did my best. Raised them well. So that they can reach, touch, and continue on long after I've gone.
The mornings are the only time when I can say it's Fall. The chilled air. Fog. Heavy dew. Birds quieted. That get-things-done-before-snow-flies urgency coursing through my veins. But that feeling burns away with the rising of the sun. The increase in temperature. Every time I wipe sweat from my brow. I feel I'm in between right now. Summer still hanging on. Heating the days. Autumn sweeping in at night. Knocking leaves from trees. Waking us with shivers in the morning. In the past, this was a dangerous time for me. So easy to stay in bed too long. Stay out too late. To sit in a cubicle all day only to sit in a dark, smoky bar all night. Listening to the same guy play the same songs. Drinking the same drinks with the same drinking buddies. Hearing and telling the same sad stories. Over and over again.
Now, there is a foundation. Footing to have and to hold. There is direction. Daily guidance. Real, tangible results from grounded desire. My feet planted firmly on this earth. Mind able to move freely back-and-forth. From the careful juggling of roles and responsibilities to this life of literature. Writing. Words. I don't have those deep pits. The troublesome hollow spaces that I used to find so easily. And now, when I'm in between—with Summer tugging at my heels and Autumn reaching into my gut, I am thankful. For it is a beautiful thing when a man can see the past and present for what they are. To be able to create and maintain a sense of intimacy in the now without forgetting the roots of his foundation that were started in the past.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)