I’m trying to figure out what I want. That may or may not make sense to you. What prompts me to say this now are the first two weeks of 2016. I didn’t make any resolutions, but I decided that I was the only person who can change my life. With that in mind, I made a plan. I’d read that Angry Robot (publishers) would have an open submission period until the end of January. I have not one, but two novels about a 1/3 completed, one of which had previously been finished. I am rewriting the finished novel because I originally wrote it in what I thought of as rhyming prose in homage to the epic poem which inspired me: Evangeline by Longfellow. I only ever sent it out to one contest, back in the days I had yet to own my art or my writing. I didn’t win, place or show, but there was a snarky reference in their announcement letter. They said something like, we even had a novel in verse, to which I added in my mind, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I didn’t handle rejection well in those days.
Perhaps I should have chosen that novel, since it basically involves turning verse into prose. I chose the more recently started book. I made my decision in late December, with a starting date of January first. Unfortunately, I have yet to start. I did write about half a page and rethought a couple plot points, but that’s it. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with intent. For full disclosure, I am fine artist, Brent Harris, digital artist, Philip Brent, and I write a blog, the Pen’s Might, as Philip Brent Harris. I have been writing and posting on my blog, which shares with Google+, Face Book and Twitter. On Scriggler, I’m posting mostly previously posted poetry, opinions and stories.. Since no one on this site has seen them before, it seems a good way to expand my audience. I have also posted my first pieces on Niume. I have made some new digital art and shared 2015’s final painting. I prominently place a piece of my art on every post. This has not increased my sales, unfortunately. And though I know I am an artist and a good one, I would appreciate the recognition of more sales. History will decide what my talent and vision equaled, but now I can only keep doing what I’m doing and hope.
In writing all this, I’m sharing it with myself as well as anyone who reads it, looking for any clue as to why I’m not following my plan. I’m open to input. I want to publish a book. Actually I want to publish more than one, something I realized in 2015. Writing was my first ambition, though it took me a long time and a kick in the pants to write rather than simply talk and dream about. I have a film degree, with a focus on screenwriting, and well over a dozen finished scripts. I am a story teller. I have the persistence, skill and imagination to write novels, as well as the stories I penned writing screenplays to recreate into future novels. So what have I figured out from what I have written so far? I have the talent to create and complete my vision in multiple disciplines. That does not make me in any way unique. I am writing and creating digital art and I know what I am leaning toward painting next. Still, I have not followed my plan to finish my newer novel. I know I will finish it, but maybe this deadline was simply too severe. I have used this technique before, setting an arbitrary deadline, in order to complete a project that was lagging. And, perhaps, I’ve succeeded in igniting the spark to continue what I started.
Since I started writing what you are reading, I’ve stopped to do the tasks that life requires. These tasks have been both simple and complex, pleasurable and mundane. However, I also think I’ve started to get a handle on where I want to go in my story. I’ve always had a general idea, but I know I need to decide the specifics before I continue. Even then, I know what I decide will be changed and modified in the writing itself. That’s all right with me. In that way writing, like life, is organic, surprising, messy, wonderful, amazing and strange. And, in life, sometimes we get stuck. The act of creation is an extension of us, an expression of our being. All creation is living, breathing, growing and changing. This is true whether a child, a painting, a symphony, a novel, a film or whatever we contribute to the continuation of our species or expression of our unique gift. This is why each creation is original. Though it combines the elements that make up all other creation, it was fostered by a unique individual, duo or group.
We would never say that a child, composed of the same atoms, elements and DNA of every other person who has ever lived, is a fake, a cheat, not real or original. They may not have had opportunities accorded to others. Perhaps such a child or artistic, architectural or mechanical creation is not as brilliant, beautiful, talented or accomplished as another of its kind. This does not mean it required any less of its creator. Sometimes it exacts more and years later, someone realizes it was more amazing than we were able to understand. Van Gogh and Galileo come to mind. While I do not mean to imply I compare to such luminaries, I also do not reject he possibility.
I started out searching for what I want, and end up discovering a truth about creation and originality. Anyone who tells you there’s nothing new in the world, hasn’t been paying attention. Everything in the world is newly minted. We may judge it on merit, honesty or intent, but creation requires effort. Even the dishonest ravings of political pundits, contemptible deeds of criminals and art forgers takes work. These, unfortunately (we hope) are not extensions of ourselves or expressions of our unique gifts. They are crass manipulation to distort the truth of others in order to profit monetarily, emotionally, or spiritually. This is not my problem. I’ve been stuck, but I’m moving again, and I always do my best to make what I create come from my heart, my essence. I’m not always successful, but I always try. So, I will complete my novel, Toliver, though probably not in time for my arbitrary deadline. That’s all right. I will persist, perhaps the most important trait in this sort of endeavor, and other opportunities will present themselves. I’ve heard it said that opportunity is when luck meets preparation. I’ll do my best to be prepared when opportunity comes strolling along.
Keep your eye out for Toliver. I’ll give a shout when it’s ready and let you know what my next story will be.