Why did you write a book?
It was the question my family and friends posed after Cross Your Fingers was published. It is a simple question. The questioner wanted to know the reason for my activity. It was the question that was the hardest for me to answer.
The simple truth is I write. I have always written. I am a note taker, a doodler, a jotter, a list maker. I’ve kept a diary since I was a child. The pages are filled with observations, song lyrics, quotes, drawings, poems, and any stream of thought that I dare to jot down. I am the person who uses those pads of paper in hotel rooms. I am the child who wrote long letters to my parents and, even longer letters to friends as a teenager. My mind is full, so I write. After all of these years, I still write letters, songs, and stories. I write to understand, to express, to overcome, to remember the moments that feel so fleeting. I write, because this is who I am.
Yet, the question, why did you write a book, is hard to answer. The nature of the problem is that the questioner isn’t seeking to know more about me. H/She doesn’t want insight into the dynamics of my self-identity. The questioner seeks to understand why did I decide in my late thirties while caring for a family, a home, a puppy, and a career to forgo the responsibilities and nuisances of 21st century life to write a novel.
Oftentimes, I answered the question whimsically with Why not and a shrug. Then, there were moments when I did not answer the question at all; instead, I smiled and murmured Just because. But, here is the truth.
Most adults work careers or jobs that do not reflect or showcase all of who they are. This is just as true for the gas station attendant and waitress as it is for the nurse and lawyer. A college education or a substantial paycheck is no reflection of the depth of a person’s soul. Individuals are born both talented and inquisitive and we have a great desire to acquire and exhibit a skill. We sit with friends and discuss the things we are thinking of doing. Bicycling. Marathons. Gardening. Crafting. Playing music. Writing music. Cooking. Furniture Refinishing/Building. Travelling. Writing. The list goes on and on.
I write. For years, I had thought of writing a book. Many have been started; none were finished. Like most people, it is easy to begin that thing, that dream, but it takes self-discipline, a support system, and a plan to see that dream completed. I wrote a book, because it was a skill I wanted to acquire. I did not write a book thinking it would be published and I would make millions. Writing was a passion that I had never considered turning into a profession. At the same time, I love the joy that comes from creativity.
Take a moment and think about that thing – or the couple of things – that you say you’re going to do. Think about your bucket list. Always wanted to rebuild a classic car? Learn to swim? Thought about learning to quilt, crochet, woodwork? Feel the smile that stretches over your face. There is my reason. That is the reason that you should do your thing – whatever it is.
It is not about money. The odds are not in my favor - or yours - that the skill will lead to fame and fortune. In fact, it may require that you spend dollars on equipment or supplies. But, that smile - the one that etched across your face and that feeling you feel when passion enlivens you is why I wrote a book – and will continue to write books. And, it is why you should indulge in your SIDESHOW.