If Not Now, When?

So many drafts; just like my life: my business a draft, my books drafts – my success a draft – my dreams a draft.
But alas, life is no rehearsal; I play starting squad on a team of one every single day.

And here as I sit, shoulders haunched, stomach slightly pudge and paunch, this is who I am: a California Thoreau; a yuppie-hippie – candlelit and lovesick – my boyish heart beating a stone’s throw from my boyhood home. This is as whole as I will ever be.

Sure, I, like my drafts, am unfinished; and I may become more complete as they do, but I’ll never be more the bard than I am now – I either have it or don’t; the gift, the magic, the love of humanity. I believe these things exist within me.

This is my myth, the story I am living, and it terrifies me. I have been blogging writing underground nearly six years. And this waking dream I call 7saturdays has evolved with me – from the online diary of an ambitous twenty-four year old, to a neverending letter to myself, my future readers.

And, until I finish those drafts, I know I am placing messages in bottles to no one. Because I know that, like the still waters before me, my life holds them all captive. The lack of flow, of digging deeper to push these letters downstream, holds them all back. And they are adrift, like ships in a fog, at the mercy of the current, and the current is what waits for no man; for the current is time; and I: the moon, master of the tide.

The tide won’t wait. And then, there is only the dread of the rocks. No redemption for my soul, no reaching millions with my books. Not if they are drafts.

I must shape the world as I see it fit to live in; I must build islands in this sea. Otherwise the bottles float on, lost forever.

It is my hope – my deepest desire – that I will become one of the greats. Not to be great – to do great. I think it was Jung who wrote: Goethe does not create Faust, Faust creates Goethe.

And in this fashion, I aim to complete my drafts and in working on them to work on myself, to work on the world. In this way, my life’s work will become part of our human story, our history. For what does a writer do if not write the biography of the world? His work capable of permeating past, present, and future.

But, oh the dread of the rocks!

However, I must look to my library, to the men and women who cast off before me – to the poets, philosophers, and writers who have landed on my shore – to the ones who invited me to this great wide sea. And it is with deep appreciation and great awe that I read their works. I read with the hope all writers have: the hope that through some mystical, intellectual osmosis, their gifts will inform mine.

There are a thousand reasons books at my home, all beckoning me forth.

Beckoning me to sing along, lest my swan song be a mere death rattle and not an echo for eternity.

I wish G-d would whisper to me now, and maybe He is. Maybe the desire in my heart is a promise; and I would like to believe it is, which is, I think, a sign of fear – as is the case with all things we would like.

I fear greatness. I fear people thinking I am a fraud, a wannabe. As if I will be rejected for thinking I could build telescopes that let people see the stars.
But that is what I want my books to do. It’s what Shakespeare did. He took people to places in their hearts they had never been. He expanded the depth of the human heart. Joy, sorrow, laughter, ire – reading Shakespeare teaches me that these are part of a human life, part of the beauty and fullness of living. I too would like to be a steward of humanity.

And given the opportunity I have to do so, I feel blessed; and, as is the case with anyone who feels himself to be blessed, it is immensely humbling.

I do not forget where I come from: I was a kid who grew up in the proverbial gutter – and maybe that’s the problem: my inability to shake the feeling that life was hard. Then again, is a hard life not the fire in which writers are forged?

I write here to curate my living myth, my story. To pull the tide closer to my dreams. Dreams held back by excuses.

But, if not now, when?

There is nothing more to say, only to write.

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