You might be wondering what I meant in the title when I said revised in parenthesis. I started writing this rant with the purpose of discussing what I’m thankful for due to it being so close to Thanksgiving. By the way, I call all of my weekly columns “rants.” If you regularly read them over the years you’ll know why. When I wrote the title, I had an odd feeling of deja vu. So I went through my archives and found the same title from last year around the same time. You won’t find it on this website. Back then, I was writing these rants for the newspaper I work for. I still write them for that paper, but I also put them on here. It’s really interesting rereading some of these older rants.
Here are the things I was thankful for last year:
• The ability to write for a living.
• The never ending support from my friends and family.
• The fact that my publisher, Burning Willow Press, took a chance on me and published my books.
• The failures I’ve suffered and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
While all of that is still true, there’s something I missed out about mentioning. It’s something that’s been in the background of my life and I’ve never really made any efforts to cultivate it or even acknowledge it. This factor is really the entire reason behind everything I’d previously listed.
It’s that I’m thankful for my faith in God and for His love for me. God has given me the gift of writing. That never ending support from my friends and family? That’s also a gift from God. Because of the writing gift, it’s led to my books being published. Those many failures were because I placed my pride and stubbornness higher on my priority list than I did my faith. God’s granted me the patience, wisdom, and endurance to suffer through those failures and learn from them.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t mention it the first time. Well, there were a few reasons. Without being too convoluted about it, I should simply state that I didn’t have the courage. I’d grown up tight lipped and never really talked about my feelings or expressed my thoughts and opinions. That’ll sometimes happen when your parents go through a nasty divorce. Because of that divorce, I’m not that fond of arguing with others, especially when those people are concrete in their thinking. The conversation doesn’t really lead anywhere and both sides only entrench themselves deeper in their beliefs. That’s also why I don’t often discuss politics either.
So what happened? Why am I being so open about this revelation of mine (pun intended)?
It’s because my own marriage imploded. A few years ago my wife and I suffered what the courts call “irreconcilable differences.” The funny thing was that those differences were reconcilable had we both sacrificed our pride and ego to solve them. Except we didn’t. We opted for divorce.
Do you ever ask people “How are you doing?” and that person responds “I’m fine.” That was my response and it was always a lie. After my divorce, I fell into a depression.I didn’t take care of myself and I didn’t do any writing on my books. I delved too deeply into video games and fast food. I didn’t care for much during that time. It was bad.
Eventually though, and I’ll get to my main point in a second, things got better. I decided to write a book about a character similar to myself that suffered many of the same things that I went through. A fellow writing friend was my only confidant in this book’s creation. She was the person I workshopped ideas with and she never once judged me for what I was doing to that poor soul, my main character. I poured all of my pain, sorrow, and other elements of depression into those pages. I punished him just as hard as I thought God was punishing me. What can I say? Writing is very therapeutic.
Except I was wrong. God wasn’t punishing me. I was being tested. By writing that novel, I was given a view of what would happen if I followed along that dark path filled with depression and sorrow. So I took another path. I began taking better care of myself both physically and spiritually. Little by little, things are getting better. As time ticks away, I’m learning from my failures and hope I don’t repeat them.
So while I am thankful for the four things at the beginning of this rant, I have to acknowledge the source behind those things. I am most thankful for God and all the wonderful gifts I am blessed with.
It’s normal for people to ponder what they’re thankful for during the tail end of November. The challenge is cherishing and carrying that feeling with you throughout the rest of the year.
By the way, don’t expect that book to come out anytime soon. That novel will likely never see the light of day because I’d have to go through it and relive it. That’s something I’d rather not do for a very long time.
Categories: Mastering the Craft