When I was back on the east coast, Patrick and I used to read stories to each other. They were never stories written by other people. They were our own tales set in lands we controlled with characters we fashioned and honed. I can recall evenings where we would sit on his back porch, absorb the starlight, and talk about our characters/worlds and discuss possibilities.
I remember Patrick talking fondly about this man whose life was fraught with challenges. His name is one that very few have heard as of this minute, but hopefully that will change.
When Patrick posted this to Facebook, I wanted to share it with everyone I possibly could. Please… Spread this like wildfire. We, after all, are the media.
“It takes a special kind of courage to be an artist.
A courage that sees you working in the dark, separated from the world by an invisible barrier that is at once as ephemeral as shadow and deep as the chasm between worlds.
I know what you may think of me, and people like me. I know what you may think of the under-fed over-bearded guy standing on the sidewalk strumming his six-string for pocket change. I expect you wonder when he’ll get a real job. I expect you wonder when I will.
Working a real job, particularly a job you really don’t like isn’t something one ought necessarily be proud of, says this guy. Doesn’t take much courage to surrender to idolatry of consumerism – two weeks of vacations a year, two car garages, black Friday shopping extravaganzas, and quadruple bypasses.
What takes courage is holding that small and proud dream, a tiny seed of hope you pray may one day flower, in your hand for years, willing it to grow while you try to manage the daily affairs of the rest of your life with your one unencumbered hand.
I’ll tell you something – I don’t want to be the one of the millions punching the clock and keeping his head down, never asking questions, never looking up, never realizing there’s an Universe full of the kind of stupefying wonder that can cement the most weakened of resolves, glue together the most broken of hearts. And to paraphrase John Lennon, I’ve got a feeling that I’m not the only one.
Perhaps you’ve dared to look in the deep mysteries of the world and wondered. Perhaps you’ve dared to look in black and unrealized reaches of the human psyche. Perhaps you’ve felt the invisible teeth of a nameless fear in the bloom night, and perhaps you feel that an answer awaits you somewhere down a road you could never quite find.
Well, I don’t pretend to have answers for you, dear compatriot. I’m a writer. It’s not my job to answer questions but to ask them.
But I know a guy that’s walked a bit down that road. His name is Elias Duana. I found him on his knees, half dead and half crazed, outside a ruined house in Tennessee. He looked more spectre than man. Still, I followed this ghost, and I’ve told his story.
I know what you may think of me, but perhaps it’s time that you see what I’m made of. You judge where I belong on a bookshelf, or if I belong in the trash bucket. I won’t take offense either way, for if you choose the latter you will be in good company. Fifty rejection letters might agree with you, so my skin has thickened enough to risk it. I’m ready for the Pepsi challenge because I’m pretty damn well sure that I can best 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight on an even field of battle.
I keep those fifty rejection letters in my bedside nightstand and I look at them every night before I go to bed. I feel the weight of them press into my hand. Sometimes I roll them into a scroll, or shuffle them, or worry them with my hands. But I never fold them or dare to endeavor to tear them even little. I want them to keep well, you see. When I’ve crested the proverbial hill I want to remember all of the times I fell on my journey, dusted myself off, and got back up.
As I perform my nightly ritual with all the gravity of a religious ceremony I often think of one my favorite poems in which E. E. Cummings asks, what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun…or, does it explode?
You tell me. It’ll only cost you a measly three bucks to find out. Book two will cost you four. What can I say, I’m optimistic.
Find The Empyrean Chronicle on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook
Book I – Reckoning Buy now on Kindle! Buy now on Nook! (link pending)
Book II – Empyrean Chronicle Buy now on Kindle! Buy now on Nook! (link pending)