I am an author.
More than that Ė Iím a published author.
Iím not gloating. Iím confessing. Let me explain.
First, I need to tell you what it is to be an author. Oh, I know, I know everyone here, every player, is an author in their own right. Rightly so! You create vast, breathtaking worlds; a thousand personas of all different kinds; gritty, glorious adventures and elegant romances, dizzying mysteries and heart-rending tragedies. You are all authors. You know how it is to write, create, to gash yourself in the heart of your mind and bleed the wonder and beauty out through your cells down to your fingers where it is drummed into the keyboard, scribbled across a page, given solid form. The words you bleed out are art. Are something so sacred and unique, it is more intimate than sex.
You are letting what is inside you be seen. Youíre letting it free. Youíre giving it life and exposing a part of yourself at the exact same time.
How did you feel when you first did it? For me, it was a thrill, a delicious uplifting, a gleeful pound and an eager itch to give more, to do it again and againÖ and the soft, cautious fear. As if, one word would make me stumble. Desire for recognition coupled with a whisper of stark terror as I waited, wondering if I did it right, if there was something I missed, or failed to do, if I were wrong to write it soÖ
And yet, I did it again. And again. As do we all. We give deeply, brave the disgust of others because there is something inside that wants out. Craves release.
That is being an author. Being publishedÖ well. It is becoming even more exposed.
I have rarely felt so sick then when I submit pieces of my work to publishing houses. Knowing the precious slices of my mind are being scrutinised in the most graceless way. Knowing my work is being weighed and examined to see if it is what can be sold.
It feels degrading. In that time between sending off the work and receiving a message back on whether it is acceptable or not, it makes me feel foul. I canít do anything with myself until I find out. If it isnít what is wanted I nurse my wounds and write again. If they do want it, I wait until they tell me what they want to change. And I want to cry. They slice apart my dreams-made-real. And force me to reshape it to how they desire. So I do.
Worst is when there is nothing. Just silence. The waiting goes on and on and what am I to think? Was my work deleted or accidentally thrown away? Was it so terrible they laughed over it? Was it too intense, not the right style, too deep, too much? Or worse, was it not enough?
Was it bad?
And those thought keep chasing and chasing and chasing until they are like a dog gone mad and the only thing to do is take a gun and blow it away Ė
And then I turn back to my desk. Lay my hands on the keyboard. And stare.
Nothing comes. Nothing.
I canít write. I am in mourning.
Ridiculous. Itís a piece of work. Itís saved to my hard-drive. Send it to another publisher. Or put it in the graveyard folder for all the bits and pieces that died before their time.
It doesnít get easier. In fact, it gets harder to write, harder to trust myself, harder to believe that what is in my head deserves to come out at all.
I re-read a lot of my old work last night, to try to confront my fears. I have been scared for a long time that I wasnít a good author. That I shouldnít be published at all.
That is my confession. I wished for a long time I wasnít - not just not published, but not an author at all. I wanted to not be what I was. I thought I loved every aspect of my being but I forgot that inside my mind was just as much me as the shell it is housed in. Comfortable in my body, yes, but loathing what was in my head for no better reason than being ignored by people I had never met or even been in contact with.
It takes time to heal from something so deeply self-inflicted like that. I have not written for publishing in over a year. I have not written for my role-plays in nearly six months (given a few exceptions). I had hurt myself thinking that I didnít deserve what I had. I hurt myself holding my work so close.
I need to learn to distance myself. It will be difficult but I think it is do-able. When I worked on the farm, I had to get blisters on my hands before the skin got tough enough so I could work longer, faster, better.
So it is the same with the mind.
I am a published author.
Now, that was a gloat.