Does anyone know who first said that? Can we even attribute the quote to an individual? Maybe a pessimist too afraid to see the falling star's magic. The party buzzkill? Or was it actually someone who drowned in the realization of life's long-wished-for and hard-sought dreams? I don't know. I can't say, but as I sit typing this--looking both backward and forward all at once--I think I'm retiring those cliched words once and for all. In a few days I have a birthday, and along with blowing out candles and making a News Year's resolution I say this: I'm done being careful. I plan to wish recklessly and without care. I'm hunting stars and pinning a fresh wish on each and every one. Starlight, star bright, indeed.
I'm a nostalgic person, and though I often try to play it cool, in the end I'm a writer not a fighter. I say that tongue-in-cheek, of course, but to say I'm a writer is really a loaded statement. What is it to write, if it's not to share one's passion? Its taken me more than twenty years to figure this out about myself--what it means to write, why I do it, why it burns in me the way it does. Its passion. But its not passion for the story, as it should be, or a desire to satisfy myself, as I wish it could be. Its the passion I have for those who will read it. Its for them, and always has been.
It is a love song to my muses.
Passion. Too much, maybe. Those who know me have heard me say I don't like, I love. If you're in, you're in all the way with me. I'm no longer sure if its a strength or a fault of mine. Othello says "I loved not wisely, but too well." Things didn't exactly end up well for him. The Beatles sang "all you need is love." Clearly the artistic world is confused on this matter, and I'm morally compromised and far too close to the subject to make a call. Good, bad, ugly? Maybe it doesn't matter. There's truth in it.
This is an odd entry, but as far as my 2014 Year in Review goes, it seems like a much more personal discovery I've stumbled upon and therefore deserves a mention. I've attended conventions, published books, entertained gamers, spoken on panels but somewhere in the thick of it all this year, I began to understand why. Why I do this, I mean, and its not for the reasons I once believed.
In November I finished a book I've been writing on and off for six years. It was a big deal to type those last words, push back from the keyboard and scroll through 400 pages littered with the fingerprints of so many that I've loved. I poured myself a drink that night and went outside to sit under the stars. It was cold, and bundled up in a sweatshirt and hood, I finished my drink and named every last person that had inspired me along this journey.
There were a lot of names. I've been lucky in that regard.
This was a year of surprises for me. I'm good at anticipation, but 2014 shucked and jived, floated like a butterfly and sometimes stung like a bee. When I sat naming those names I realized how much I missed those who'd gone, and how much I dearly love those who are here. People come and go in the course of your life. Its a natural thing, but I'm standing by this: if you're here with me now, I'm not letting go easily. And because you're here, I'll be writing. There are things I want to say, things that need saying, and I'll craft a story around those words so they'll have a reason to be spoken.
I managed to get some of those words out this year. 2014 saw the release of three of the four books in my graphic novel, Song of Dominion. All three illustrate a new direction in my story-telling and offer both an epic and personal story all at once. I'm drawn to these characters, their bonds, their tragedy, and through them some of my words found voice.
A new part of me woke up in 2014, and I think the writing, certainly in that third installment of Song of Dominion, reflects that awakening. There were a few factors that attributed to this. Part of that came with getting older, and as much as I despise that, I also know I wouldn't have this perspective were it not for the years behind me. Ultimately, I suppose "its not the years, honey, its the mileage," as my favorite archaeologist once said. I've realized that most of my life has been spent planning ahead or looking behind--even now as I write this I'm guilty once again. But I've learned to try and live in the moment, whatever that moment might be. I've learned to let go a little and love what is in that moment with me, which is something that doesn't often come naturally or easily.
What's ahead, I can't say for sure. New books, yes, and new adventures. But what those adventures will entail...I can only sit and wonder. For my muses, though, my love song goes on. I'll write because you love me. To steal from Neruda, "you're the reason for my song."
The stars are out as I write this, and I have a few wishes for the coming year. Let the pessimists and buzzkills offer their warnings. I say welcome what dreams may come. My sky is filled with a constellation of stars named after those who've inspired me; those whom I adore. I can't imagine a safer place to hang those wishes than with those who can make them come true.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, but I think these deserve even more.
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