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For once, I’m stuck for a title for a post. But alas, ‘The Screaming House’ sounds apt for my rumbling thoughts about to follow.
I was just flicking through a reference/how-to book I own just earlier today and couldn’t help but chuckle as something caught my eye: “They’ll mortgage their homes for a chance to meet with an editor”, “The burning desire to create a literary masterpiece must rank high with other forms of madness.” (in The Everything Guide to Writing a Novel, by Joyce & Jill Lavene).
It must have been the first how-to book I ever bought years ago in my mad quest to become a published author. I don’t believe I’ve looked at the pages of that book for over 6 years. But back then, anything to do with writing, or anything that suggested it would help improve my writing, or help me tackle the scary notion of approaching publishers had me saving my meagre earnings (as a student) and buy any book within my budget that caught my fancy. I used to come home with at least one reference book per week.
Looking back, I can’t help but laugh. How-to books and self-improvement books were on the top on my list and priority back then because I was madly chasing my own tail trying to better myself or my writing. Today, that drive isn’t so much in buying every self-help and guide books, but rather just practicing the craft as much as possible.
However, the Lavenes’ aren’t far off in their assumption that the drive to achieve this one goal is so bad that it does sometimes affect the decisions we make. Frankly speaking, I could be working at a lab, in a white coat and pipetting fluids and solutions, and helping while earning a salary – but I am not, even though I have a degree in Science. Why not? Good question. ‘Cause I am mad, that’s why. I am chasing that dream of recognition in the writing field, which has been my passion since I was in my early adolescence, that perhaps, if I did own a house, I may be very tempted, very tempted indeed, to mortgage it to make something of myself, not so much in the sense of ‘meeting’ an editor, but in the sense that I could finance mass printing, marketing and distribution of my novels and poems etc. Perhaps a reason why most artists and writers are rich in all else but monies – the Universe’s way of making sure we don’t destroy everything that does mean something to us I suppose. Or else, we would all be tempted to sell the roof over our head for something so intangible as getting published when the guarantee of success is never made.
It certainly is a madness! Alas, we can always dream, and keep going. Who knows what’s around the bend? Believe it or not, this post wasn’t meant to discourage but rather tell you that you are special. Not everyone can do what you do, what we do. Not everyone can live with the uncertainty of everyday like we do. Of slowly going crazy inside because even if you and I wanted to, we cannot forsake the company of our dreams. It seems impossible. And perhaps it is that impossible which motivates us to try that much harder and that much more selflessly.
So go forth and dream. Big things are always made of these, and what is creativity if not a little madness in you and me?