Then there were two books. Then there were three. But a funny thing happened on the way to super-stardom; no one read my work. Sure, there were some family members who bought my book from a sense of obligation; but I cannot even say that every member of my family felt this obligation.
And that's the thing about being a writer; for every book you see on some bookstore shelf there are hundreds you don't see. For every book Amazon touts, there are thousands languishing around the dusty corners of the internet. For every movie inspired by a novel, there are millions of of untold stories. Most of them? Very bad. The rest, not good enough. Maybe, just maybe there are a few that are better than anyone knows, but they never see the light of day. Such is the reality of being a writer.
I ply my wares as a wordsmith. Sometimes those words get some comment, most of the time they are read in silence.
The tricky part about being a writer is that we are artists; tortured souls seeking some sort of self-validation. And while we seek that vindication; the admittance by others that our words actually matter, we shout to anyone who will listen that we don't give a damn what anyone thinks. You know what? We lie. If we did not care, we would not write. Oh, we care; we care a lot. But to let others know we actually care? That is the real travesty.
When I wrote Middle of Nothing, it was about coming to grips with my own weaknesses as a human being. I tried really hard to understand what led me to becoming the flawed man I have become. Along the way, I learned a bit about the human condition.
Then I wrote Fragments of Humanity. I am actually not even sure entirely what the motivation was behind that story. When I was eighteen, I joined the Marine Corps. I went through boot camp (barely), then MOS school. I got to 29 Palms and felt lost. That Marine who took off on a bus? That was me. Everything that followed was fiction. But I was the Marine who flew the coup. I guess that story was me trying to make sense of a life that I felt I both abandoned and recaptured without any understanding of how I arrived at 48 years old. There I was, and I had no clue what led me there. The fiction that resulted was spontaneous.
I think that my third novel, Grand Illusion, was really a very different animal. It was the first time I told a story that was not based on me. The characters were completely fabricated and it was freeing. But I think the failure of all three books began to take its toll.
Here I am, three years later, and I have earned a whopping $112.65 from the sales of three books. You could say it is bad marketing; that's what I like to tell myself. But I make double that in a month from my sports writing. Even that I think is somewhat inflated.
I have been writing 'professionally' for almost six years. Do you know how many others have come seeking my services? None. Not a single site has ever come to me and asked me to write for them. Well, I take that back; there are plenty who want me to write without pay.
Sometimes this becomes more than just disheartening. Then, I put a bunch of letters together to form some words; a bunch of words together to form sentences; and somehow I look at the sentences, formulate them into a story and feel invigorated at the process.
So, I fancied myself a writer. I put words down and find satisfaction in the manner in which I tell stories. I may not be defined as successful, but I guess by most definitions I am a writer. Good? Who the hell knows.
I am neither hated nor loved. I am neither noticed nor ignored.
I just - am.