Thursday, October 29, 2015

So a relative walks into my kitchen...

I want to be a writer, blah, blah, blah.

I've been saying it for years now and doing my best to follow all the salient advice I can find, especially that of writing and reading every day. Even with hard work, the shadow of doubt occasionally darkens my desk and I don't read or write as much as I should. It's times like these I give myself a break from the minimum requirements I set for myself daily (actually Stephen King set them) since I know that, "Working while discouraged makes for discouraging work." Like that? I just made it up. Quote me if you use it and include my twitter handle @edwardvarga if you would, please.

"Doubt is the hemlock of the creative mind."
(--Edward Varga @edwardvarga)

Seriously, I can make these up all day, but what does that last one mean? Well, to decide to end one's life, one must have a reason and a method. Doubt is both. In "Meet John Doe," Gary Cooper let the nation down and was on top of a tall building at midnight on Christmas Eve. Why didn't he jump? Capra had it scripted that way originally but for many the scene did the unspeakable, and that was to admit discouragement can, and is supposed to, win some times. What? Truth in cinema? Someone should come up with a name for that. (It's Cinéma Vérité, by the way)

I can speak with confidence when I say writers clothe themselves in discouragement. Right now I have a 10,000 word paranormal short story to finish editing, an 18,000 word science fiction story to finish editing, a steam punk middle grade novel at 30,000 words to finish writing, twenty picture book manuscripts, a 100,000 word YA novel, and a 35,000 word chapter book that no agent has picked up yet, a dozen or so flash fiction pieces looking for a home, and this blog post that I'm writing. Yet I have the balls to say, I'll never be good enough. When was the last time you told a story to a friend and they said, you should write a book. It was probably pretty recently because people say that shit all the time. That's encouragement!

Now to the point of this post. Something's been gnawing at me for a while and I've decided to come to terms with it as a way of applying salve to my wounded soul. My son is a senior in High School and after he graduates he wants to pursue film making. He is accepted at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, a top ten rated film school in the United States. He's been making amateur films since he was seven and I have the greatest hope he will do much with his natural talent. As his father, my greatest challenge now is to keep the discouragement off of him... and here comes my family.

Not all my family, mind you, as many of them are very supportive. There is just one, and every time she (I'm narrowing it down a little) talks about my son and his aspirations, she blurts out how it will be very hard for him to enter film so he shouldn't be disappointed if he doesn't make it. WTF, lady? Are you in film? (She's not, by the way) What's that? No, you're not? So do us all a favor and take a little sour grape break in the corner and relax while we encourage dreams, like making films, and writing stories. That last part is about me, and I feel a new quotable coming on.

"Success starts with a dream, not discouragement."
(--Edward Varga @edwardvarga)  

Whoever you are, I believe in you, and if you believe in yourself, you will make this easier for the both of us.