I can only kneel with bended knee at the feet of writers such as James Patterson, Stephen King,, Dean Koontz, etc. They carve from silken marble the words and stories that each of us wish could write and eagerly buy to read. How do they do it? It cannot simply be dedication and work ethic. If this was the case, then each and every one of us could spend 10 hours a day before the mesmeric flicker of our monitors and crank out volumes for adoring fans and spend the rest of our days filling out deposit slips from grateful publishers.
When I start a story, I can almost see its translucent form on paper or screen, much the same way that I envision Da Vinci staring with squinted eyes at a perfect block of marble.
This is the point at which I have my usual mental breakdown. I sit here with my fingers poised above the keys ready and willing to thrill each of you...only to find myself frightened that each word will not be perfect or encompass the exact sentiment that I so dearly wish to pass on.
Then, in a blur of motion, like the swallowing of the dreaded cough syrup, my fingers bring to life what I know will surely be a masterpiece that even my favorite authors will send me emails, asking "Please tell us how we can do that too!"
That's when I make the mistake of reading what it is that I have just written. I can see the promise that lies within it, but it's not perfect. So, with a saddened heart, I hold down the backspace key untill the page is once again blank. It seems a never ending cycle for me.
I have my told by many that the key is to "write" and "edit" later. I can't do this. I can be working on the last five pages of a short story, with an end clearly visible, and still find myself tinkering with the first five-hundred or one thousand words, like a twelve year old boy picking at a painful scab.
If I cannot give people the best quality of which I am capable, then I should stop wasting my time and find a profession that is completely lacking in skill, dignity, or pride.....something like politics. I would've included prostitution, but even that profession requires a certain degree of skill.
Perhaps one day, when I am old and gray and the hilight of my day is a big glass of grape flavored Metamucil, I will finally hit the print key and see my vision of the world lying neatly on my desk. Until then, I will struggle with the demons of doubt and the Ghosts of Editors Yet to Be.
I hope that all of you rarely experience frozen fingers. I hope that words flow from your mind and fingertips like milk and honey into our parched mouths.
Grab your chisel and stroke the smooth marble until you find the perfect spot to pierce its stony flesh.
Ciao for now,