“You’re either in love with what you do, or you’re not in love.”
These were the words that I read in the back of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. And it’s almost as though I cannot escape them. Isn’t this the universal truth about anything that you invest your time and energy into? You either love it or you don’t.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m halfassing my goals because I’m not in love with them. Maybe I’m just in love with the idea and not the action itself … just like those women who love weddings and the idea of love but forget that they have to be in love and in a marriage the next day. Maybe…
After I finished Farenheit 451 I thought to myself, what would happen to us if there weren’t any books? What would happen to us, if we didn’t have a few words on a page to enlighten, to inspire, to sympathize? What if we only had bright lights and sounds to comfort us? Immediately, I thought I’d go insane. Even though I do not read as much as I would like to, the idea of having my face glued to a colorful box 24/7/52 just made me lose it internally. Can you imagine how mushy our brains would become?
But then I thought about the bigger issue … the issue of having a cause to fight for. And I wondered if I was “fighting” hard enough to become what I ultimately want to be. I know that my writing isn’t up to par, and that half the time (well, in the past few months, rather) my thoughts are disjointed … slightly incoherent. But does that mean I should stop all together — or just fight harder?
“They must write you. They must control you,” said Bradbury. “They plot me. I never control. I let them have their lives. ”
“I just let them speak. I don’t control them; I simply give them a podium and let them talk to me. All my good stories are told to me by the characters. I don’t write my stories. They write me.”
I used to just sit and wait. And then all of a sudden, a wave would wash over me. I would just start typing and typing away and next thing you know, there were characters on a page. And they were doing things. And saying things. And loving people. And kissing people. And killing people. The experience was like … a movie playing in the dark recesses of my mind and my hands were trying ever so hard to catch every moment, every detail so that it was out of my mind and onto a medium that everyone else could see. But it seems as though the movie theater is closed. And No matter how hard I try to pry it open, the boards are nailed down tight.
“You have to believe in that self as a writer, or you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Is it that my belief is not as strong … that I lack the appropriate amount of faith? Three unfinished novels, an unfinished novella and an unfinished book of short stories. People say that stories cannot write themselves, but I believe they can.
Maybe my characters have abandoned me until I am ready once again to give them all their much needed attention. Maybe they’re waiting until I fully believe that I am the one to tell their stories.