I still do.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My writing began from a desire to document my past for the benefit of my children; a desire almost strong enough to be a need. It drove me through the process to commit to my pages more than one hundred thousand words. It pushed me through the tedium of editing, rewriting (more than once) and finally to the biggest risk of all: publication. As it would turn out, the risk was a financial failure, and I have sold few volumes of my work, but my enjoyment of the creative process has kept me coming back for more (one finished book still being edited) and more (another three-quarters completed).
Recently, I’ve been writing about the recent past for different reasons. I experienced my illness - and the treatments for it - as traumas, and I’ve needed to deal with the emotional fallout of new and at times disturbing experiences. My writing has been integral to processing my feelings, understanding my responses to recent events, and finding ways to move forwards and into my future. Writing has proven to be genuinely therapeutic, and as a result, has a new place in my world. Writing has evolved from a straightforward hobby into a new thing; something more, something bigger. It feels, for the first time, like a friend.
I owe writing a debt, now. It has helped me, and continues to do so as life moves away from dark times and towards light. I feel an obligation to pay more attention towards it, although I remain pessimistic about my pursuit of accomplishment ever amounting to something tangible or – dare I say it – lucrative. My intention is to do it because I enjoy it, nothing more or less. Any recognition or success would (I cannot say ‘will’ without snorting internally) be entirely incidental – or perhaps I mean accidental. The pressure to succeed is no greater than it has ever been, but the motivation to write has subtly changed. I now write because I can, because I want to and – if I can say this without drowning in conceit – because I’ve improved, and I know that at least some people enjoy how I do it.
One day I may or may not look back upon this period as critical, but right now I recognize that it is at least of some significance. I’m happy to ride that wave of…whatever it is. I wonder to what kind of shore it may take me?