If you are interested in telling stories I want you to do something for me. I want you to protect that desire from your friends, your family, your peers, your online acquaintances, the literati, the critics, the publishing world and, most importantly, you.
If you decide at some point that storytelling no longer interests you that’s fine. What’s not fine is to think there’s some metric by which you must measure success. And the last possible metric you should measure success by is money.
I’ve been paid for my storytelling skills more than once. I have been and am a professional writer. But the storytelling I’ve done that has made money is only part of my storytelling life. The epicenter of that life, the core of my storytelling drive, is the mystery and promise of the blank page. It has been that way since I was a child, and I have protected that core from every assault waged against it.
I have not, however, always put storytelling first. For much of my adult life I put relationships ahead of my desire to tell stories, and I have no regrets about that. To do anything else would have been unthinkable to me. If life is short, and it is, then it’s for damn sure too short to be spent satisfying an itch while the people you love go wanting.
There were of course times when I was frustrated. And there were times when I could have written but I wasn’t supported in doing so. But even during the worst of it I didn’t feel as if I had to make a final decision one way or the other. I didn’t have to choose precisely because I never intended to let storytelling go. What I want you know is that you don’t have to choose either. [ Read more ]