“Retreat hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.”
Gen. Oliver P. Smith
When I was studying for the ministry, I was told that if I could be truly happy doing anything else then I should to go do it. Today, I’m a writer, so I guess we know how that turned out. Except that’s not exactly how it went down. I haven’t given up the ministry, I simply found that being a church pastor wasn’t for me. I’m too caustic. So, I decided to advance in another direction.
I discovered, the hard way, that writing is the direction I was always meant to follow. Once I found that out, I found a sustainable happiness nothing else could give me. It wasn’t easy. I wrote on my breaks at work. I wrote on my days off. I got up at 3AM so I could write undisturbed. I wrote when people got angry at me for writing and when they told me I was being a fool.
I’m not boasting because I don’t think for a moment that I did any of it right or that I’m a big success as a writer. I just did the best I could. I’m still doing that in hopes someday I’ll mature into the guy who does do it right.
It’s about priorities. You have to pay the rent to have a place to write. Being fed, warm, and clothed is nice too. I’ve done a lot of different jobs trying to support my writing. But I’ve always envisioned myself as a writer. Writing is part of me, jobs were always something to be changed when they demanded too much of my writing time.
It bothers me at times when people I share my faith with take issue with the subject matter of my writing. However, that is usually because they judge my books by the covers, not by the content. Bayou Moon has a werewolf on the cover. It is not a story about a monster. It is a story about a rather ordinary man who has to battle a monster and balance what is right with what is legal in order to protect others.
The message hasn’t changed over the years, but the messenger has. My youngest daughter and I have always had fun with a scene from Disney’s The Jungle Book in which Mowgli met a group of vultures who weren’t quite sure what they wanted to do next. Humor aside, there comes a point in life when you have to answer the question that the vultures in the cartoon never seem to be able to do.
“So, whatcha wanna do?”
I think I’ll write.