I said I had issues with self publishing, but let me make it clear, while it interests me on a broader level as a reader, what turns curiosity to treacle is for the most part personal. You can feel free (not that I imagine you ever didn’t) to ignore, but if burdened by your own sticky beak…
It comes down to two questions I ask myself too often: Why do I write? And why do I wish to be published? To you they might be one and the same, and there is for me a connection, and it is that connection that leaves me a little stuck.
I am not an exhibitionist, I don’t seek out praise and I struggle with the distinguishment between being an attention seeking bisim and receiving recognition. ( yes.. I do make up words..so word tells me)
If I were just writing for me, playing with words in secret, it would be simple to answer why I do it. You could pick any answer; for the love of stories, for escapism, to travel where no Boop has gone before, because I am addicted to the eureka moments.. since I love to show rather than tell, let me put it another way..
It was a day burdened with too many possibilities, scattered sunlight playing on old raindrops, fraying the glass into ribbons. I was travelling by train over the forth bridge and looking out over the water across at its twin. All elegant curving lines, clouds piling up behind it like floating islands, blue glinting under the white like seas unseen and I wanted to reach out, slide down the window, climb, one foot at a time, out into the faintly shimmering air and walk into those clouds.. ( in between worrying I hadn’t packed a coat). Its how I see the world..
But the truth is I don’t write just for me, I do want an audience. If courage was a pill I would take a bottle. I want you to read me, even if I never tell you it’s me…
All around me constantly I am confronted with things that makes me stop and just absorb, feeling them trickle through my senses into those deep recesses of my amygdalae, the most basic and to my mind most undeniably human part of us. I feel them bubbling up, an unformed urge pushing at my thoughts begging to become..
The train passed houses, tucked far below us like matchboxes, square and squat with dirty stonework and overgrown grasses, windows like rheumy eyes peering over inviting me to roll down that window again and take a stroll down the rutted hillside road. I could almost feel my hips start to ache and my heart start to pick up. Adventure lay on the wet sandy shores, pockmarked with old, chipped rowing boats. From a different perspective you can be transported in the most ordinary place to somewhere you couldn’t have imagined existed… But I could.
And therein lies the artist. The one who can voice was lies unformed in others. When I walk back out of those clouds, stride back up that rutted hillside road, I am another traveller with a story and I want to tell it. You cannot go where I have been, unless I take you.
This is an arrogant sounding statement. I grant you this. And I certainly couldn’t assure you it isn’t an arrogant presumption, but it is also a generous one. Those adventures they make me happier than almost anything else in this life, and I want you to share that.
For every artist, Barrie to Bowie, to Whedon to Van Gogh, who has put a little wonder in my life, I am eternally grateful.
Maybe it is the writer within that makes me such a fussy reader, but I have felt more and more marginalised by mainstream publishing, my reading list growing narrower (though certainly cheaper) by the year. There feels a gap, ever widening, waiting to be filled. Every time I think of that little Boop, eagerly begging the library to order in a never-ending list, bouncing up onto bony knees as I trembling, grinning turned another page.. I feel a little more, the need to reach out.
I care about my reader, I want to make them happy and the minute I write for them, knowing- no matter how remote such a chance is- my words might be read, it changes them. Even writing this, I am aware, this might be read and that I don’t know how to ignore; I’ve even started proofing on occasion. If it can make me so much better, it can also paralyse. I’m still struggling with finding a balance.