Friday, January 13, 2006

What writing does…

(NOTE: This is the second One Path to compare Francis Ell and Victor Gabriel Marquez… I don’t know what this means…)

Sometimes, when I sit back and think about all the readers of this blog – none of whom have the decency to leave any comments, but we won’t mention that! – I’m often amazed at how many are people who’ve known me forever and at how many I’ve only recently met. This entry is meant for both of you.

I’ve been writing for so many years, it boggles my mind. Through my thirties. Through my twenties. Through high school. Even through Junior High. Before I was even a teenager, if you can believe that.

And I’ve always had all kinds of ideas about what writing meant to me.

It certainly didn’t mean making truckloads of money – this it has never meant! I wish!

There have been times when I thought that writing give me the opportunity to get ideas across, sometimes big ideas. And it does. There have also been times when I thought writing made me interesting. Well, maybe.

Even through all the years of being overlooked, the thing that’s kept me going is how much I love to tell a story. It doesn’t matter who reads it – though, you know, readers would be a nice addition – when I write a story, I want to know what happens, how it end. I’m enjoying the story as it’s told. I get front row seats!

But there’s something more than that.

I always thought that writing told you something about myself. It does… but there’s more.

Writing tells me about myself.

Sometimes, I’m embarrassed by what I uncover. Some I’m rather proud of.

Like this, for instance…

The name of my first book was My Side. (Ring any bells, folks?) In it, the protagonist, Francis Ell had a motto he carried with him through his years. It was “I don’t need you”. It was a statement of independence and self-reliance and strength. It also proved, in the course of the book, to be horribly wrong. But the thing is, that’s also how I felt, to a degree. I believed in personal strength, a sense of not needing anyone else, making my own way in the world.

You want to know how that turned out? I married someone who felt very much the same way, and when I realized how much we needed to work together, well, it was all over. Years later, we divorced. And it was horrible and it was painful.

Then, I met Vicky, who I knew I wanted to marry when she told Tim Clostio that she and I were “a team”.

Enter my new book (almost finished, honestly – I’ll hit 70,000 words today), No More Blue Roses. In it, a has-been writer of self-help books, promoting the blessings of self-reliance, grows up. He realizes that he’s not the rock he’d always believed. He needs people. We all do. You can apply that to your wife or your kids, your family, your friends, your company – but it doesn’t end there and I think that’s an important point.

It’s not the main point of the book but it’s an important one. And it tells me something, too. That I’ve grown up, maybe a little bit. I no longer think like Francis Ell. Maybe I’m getting a bit wiser.

I’m not often very proud of myself, but I think I can be proud of that.


Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

hey nice artilce. thanks

Jenn from WA said...

This is just your way to get people to leave comments. I leave comments all the time and I've never met you. I only know you through the words of Vicky, "you ain't gonna believe this?" and now through your blog. Someday I may convince you and/or Vicky to travel to Washington State and visit. We have good apples here.

Kenneth La Salle said...

Oh, apples... really? In Washington?

Don't worry, Jenn. We'll be up there sometime in 2006, of this I'm almost sure. My brother, Dwight, will be getting married in November. (I have two brothers who live in WA.) So, the odds are good.

You'd just better have some apples...