Archive for writing

An Old Letter

While I was cleaning out my grandma’s house, I found an old letter from my grandpa, addressed to me. I only have two memories of the man. The first memory was him taking me out to Applebee’s for ice cream. The second was of the day he died, though he wasn’t really there for that one. After reading this letter, I wish I had known him better. It reads:

January 10, 1990

Letters to my unborn grandson

Dear __________ ,

          I don’t know your name because your mother, my daughter, and your father can’t agree on a name for you. I suggested several, but kids never follow a parent’s suggestion. Maybe you ought to make a note of that profundity for future reference, which brings me to the point of these and other letters which are to follow. Anyone who has reached my advanced age wants to insure that his progeny (look it up) doesn’t make the same mistakes that he made, as he at least makes an attempt to allow the possibility that his grandson will have a chance for a better life than he has had. It is not that I had a bad life by any means, but we always want something better for our kids and their kids. Beside that, I think it is a good idea to tell you something of the way your predecessors lived. That way you may better appreciate whatever advantages may come your way. Also, I might not be around when you reach the age of understanding.

          In my short life I have seen an enormous growth of technology. Some of these are talking movies, technicolor, T.V., radar, dirigibles, which I used to see fairly often as a small child in Dallas, jet planes, rockets, nuclear power, and a myriad of wonders in the areas of chemistry, astronomy, physics, biology, medicine, and so on too numerous to mention and most of which I don’t understand anyway.

         I have lived through three major wars and never served in any of them. I was too young for World War II (look it up, it was in all the papers); Korea came along when I was old enough, but three of the armed forces didn’t want guys with flat feet. Incidentally, if you have flat feet, you get them from me. All of the males from my mother’s side have, or had, flat feet. I used to fret about not having been in the service, but I have since come to the conclusion that it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t think that you will ever be called upon to serve, much less actually see combat. Events in the last six months have pretty much excluded the threat of any major conflicts in the United States.

The letter ends there. He probably intended to write more. Whether there are more letters hiding in that old house or not, I don’t know. I hope there are.

-Austin

Back in Black

Well, I’m back.

I would be lying if I said I just “took time off.” I just quit writing. I got bummed out when a webcomic project didn’t launch, and the weather, and life in the city took that disappointment and made it full fledged depression.

The worst part of my failure to post for the last few weeks was that I brought my contributors down with me. Clark followed not too long after, and finally, even Austin stopped fighting the good fight.

I have been depressed. Hell, I still am some days. But I am writing something important to me. Not just this blog, but my other blog, and several other projects. And I have to keep reminding myself that in order to be a writer, you have to write.

You have to write every damn day.

The longer I stay at this, the more second nature it becomes. But with hard times, family trauma, and failed attempts at greatness, the comfort of writing is also a blight. Because no matter how much I write and no matter what the topic, I can’t shake the feeling that I suck at it.

Please, do not comment or message me any reassurances about my “talent.” I am not fishing for anything. I am simply voicing my very real fear that I am, in fact a terrible writer.

I think this feeling comes with the territory. The craft of writing requires a lot of critique and it doesn’t have a finished product like computer programming or architecture. Does the program work? Does the building stand? Job well done. But, do the words sound right?

Maybe. I can’t ever tell.

I’m trying. Not very hard, some days. But, I try. And as I keep growing as an artist and a person, my life is improved not my my progress in the craft, but simply by doing it. I am made more human by the act of  trying to achieve, and striving to be better. And most days, it is still a hard sell.

But, I keep going. I fall, and stumble, and screw up with surprising regularity. And when I look back on these past mistakes, I can become paralyzed with fear. But I have to keep going. And I still ask myself why and and tell myself I am kidding myself, but I keep moving forward.

Why? Because I must. Because that is my task in this life. To push to be a story teller and to try and build something. Not so it can stand the test of time or be the greatest story every told, but because in the act of trying, I am made whole.

So here’s to being back. I’m sorry I ever left,

-DC