I met some truly wonderful people when I worked in Saudi Arabia. Many of whom I still talk to and try and keep relationships with. Life is about relationships and experiences. I had one friend there, a South African woman, who was probably too smart for her own good. She was always reading, always surveying things around her, and always trying to get the best out of every situation. I liked her. Not in THAT way, but I liked her. She wanted to truly live. William Wallace was reported to have said, “Every man dies, but how many truly live?” That is a good question Mr. Wallace. You did both didn’t you, you fiery Scotsman (who was allegedly born in Wales)? And it is her who I have to thank for the contents of this blog. It was true then and true now.
We were talking one day, and apart from having wonderfully amazing joke telling skills, she shares the same philosophy of not needed to go out and be doing something to be doing something. She says she sits and thinks, reads blogs, books, and literature of all sorts. I mentioned that I blogged, slipped her my blog link, and didn’t realize she’d actually read it. She did. And when I saw her a few days later on the third occasion our paths crossed as I was ambling towards the gift shop to buy a chocolate bar, she told me that “the golf book isn’t the book I’m supposed to write.” And when I said chocolate is an addiction of mine, she told me it wasn’t the only one I had based on her readings. Hmmm, she may be too smart for her own good. (This blog is no longer in existence, by the way.)
Naturally, it got me thinking and I don’t know if she is right about the golf book (probably is/was), but I think she is right about having something we are supposed to write. I had the idea of using my location in the Middle East to go to several countries and write a golf book for average golfers like me about the different courses on offer, and stuff like that. I would keep track on how many golf balls I lost, etc., because I thought it would be fun and too many pros write golf books and not enough average, normal people do. I can be average and normal (but not for too long as it really does bore me).
I believe every artist has one piece of work in them that will be their defining moment. Some artists, because they possess skills I can only dream about, have several to choose from, but are dead so they can’t choose, so we must speculate on what that one significant piece of work is. Michelangelo had David and the Sistine Chapel. Da Vinci had several to choose from as well. Garth Brooks, that retired country singer who put on a fabulous stage show, always said that his defining song came early for him – The Dance.
So we must all search for ours. We might not be as lucky as Margaret Mitchell and find it in our fist attempt, like Gone With the Wind did for her. Harper Lee only wrote one book, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and that seemed to do well for her. I’ve published that one book already; but I know it is not my defining piece of literature.
That’s not to say I haven’t written it yet. Maybe it’s sitting on my desktop on my computer at home, waiting to be edited and unleashed. Maybe Aaric, my beloved Hydra, is the book I’m supposed to write. On the other hand, maybe my defining piece of literature isn’t meant to be a book. What if my defining work, the words that live longest for me, were said so only a few could hear them? Perhaps the speech I wrote when my best friend Glenn got married are the single most important and impressionable words I’ll ever utter or put to paper?
I think every writer, or everyone who thinks they are a writer, has that one story to tell that only they will be able to tell. We can all tell the same story, with our own unique twist, but only we can tell the story that we are meant to tell. This is a story of not just words, but of emotion, of pain, of suffering, of everything we have ever seen, had ever hoped to see. This is a story that pains us to think about not writing. This is the story that we search for every time we blog, free write, or open our minds and our hearts to search for. This is the story that comes to us when we sleep, when we squeeze grapefruits in the produce section, when we look away from that cute girl who shyly smiles at you across a crowded coffee shop.
This is the story that has grown up with you. Every time you stubbed your toe as a child, every runny nose and scabbed knee build this story. In the quietest moments you hear it, dictating inside your mind, extrapolating the grand and wicked from the dull and mundane. This story, this creation of everything you are, were, and will be, is the story inside us that we all seek to find and produce. Every fleeting touch we recall, every metallic tang of coppery tasting blood we recollect from trying to stop our nose from bleeding by letting it drain down our throats is begging to be exploited.
And so we write. We write to escape boredom. We write because we feel compelled to do it. Sometimes we even write because we do have a story to tell. Sometimes I write simply because I like hearing my own voice as I read over the words as I type them. Maybe it’s time we focus on writing to tell our story. Maybe it’s time we unleash the tale that only we were meant to tell. From what I know of you, my dear blog readers and people I consider my peers, inspiration sources, and friends, your stories will be every bit as remarkable as I think you are. And that is pretty damn remarkable.
When I look back on things, and I allow myself to think that I may have already found the story I was meant to tell, and told it at Glenn’s wedding, I allow myself a wonderful smile. That knowledge won’t stop me from writing more. That knowledge won’t prevent me from trying to publish stories, articles, or novels. All that memory tells me is that I once created something that brought grown men and women to tears. I had managed to move them. I had managed to stir their emotions and have them hang off my every last word. That is indeed the ultimate goal of all art; to wrestle emotion. I can be content knowing I did that at least once in my life. Deep down though, I know I’m not done doing it. My story is still out there hoping to be told. I hope to read yours as well.