I often see on Facebook postings by friends, typically former students, who are chasing various dreams and life goals that many would perceive as unrealistic rather than settling for something less. They inspire me and give me hope. Reading one such post recently reminded me of a speech I gave a few years back at a banquet at the University of Toledo for English majors who had won various department-sponsored creative writing awards.
I imagine both the quality and quantity of my writing would increase exponentially should I commit myself and my time exclusively to writing and to a hermit’s existence. And maybe it would pay off in both critical and financial success. For me, however, that price is too high. My Art will have to remain my part-time mistress, for I am in no way ready or willing to give up all she necessitates to be married to her.
When I’m gone, I want to leave something of more-than-physical value behind, and I don’t want anyone to remember me as that guy sitting endlessly in front of a television, iPad, or cell phone screen.
It’s with great ambivalence regarding the value of doing so and with a bit of trepidation as to how its motivations will be interpreted that I’d like to share the behind-the-scenes story of my current novel-in-progress.