That doubt always creeps into your head. It’s been there since you were a young boy or girl. Can I do this, you think to yourself as you prepare to take on the latest challenge in your life. This line of thinking is natural because you’re straying from your norm, from the lifestyle you live every single day.
I’m at one of those moments in my life; a period where I’m about to embark on the bicycling journey of a lifetime, while at the same time feverishly working with my publisher to make sure everything involved with my new book is to the proper specifications. Do I have what it takes? How will I know if I do or not? These thoughts endlessly flow through my brain. Maybe it’s the nonstop hormones that I continually write about, or maybe my mind simply can’t sit still.
Being a writer affords one a certain power, a power that I, and so many of my contemporaries that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the last nine months, don’t take lightly. I never truly understood this power until I began officially publishing works a couple months back.
Anyone with a pencil or a keyboard can write (by the way, are you really a writer if your literary is only done via technology? I hope so, because my handwriting is atrocious). Yet it takes a special kind of person to be able to put their thoughts out there for everyone else to read. I don’t say special to suggest that people who write are any better than those who do not. Rather, it takes a unique personality to write because a writer’s prose is representative of whom they are as a person. When talking about the non-fiction or memoir genre, this reality is even more apparent.
This spring my memoir comes out. It’s been a long road, no pun intended. It took me eighteen months just to write the manuscript, finally finishing it on Christmas Day as I sat alone on the couch, heartbroken. I chose to neglect my entire family because I didn’t want them to witness the somber state that I was in. At the same time, I wanted to get this fucking book done, because you can only try to perfect a work of art so many times. At some point, you just have to let it ride and if people hate it, so be it, because there is no such thing as a perfect book. Art is not limited to yes or no responses.
Some people are going to love my book and be thankful I wrote it. Some people are going to be offended or turned off by how transparent I am at detailing the last few years of my life. Others are going to think the whole book sucks and tell me to find a new vocation. This reality isn’t a problem because I didn’t sit down one summer evening and decide to write this book because I wanted everyone to like me. I made the choice to write this book because someone out there is going to read it and relate to my problems in their own way. Someone else is going to laugh at the sheer idiocy of many of my decisions. Perhaps the majority of readers are going to intently stare at the pages and say, “Man, that guy is weird!”
As a memoirist, you are forced to expose parts of your life that will show just how vulnerable a human being is. Parts of my book make me look good. Other parts portray me as a major douchebag. Either way, it happened, and I’m choosing not to run from that reality because I prefer to embrace my past.
As I sit and look at a couple load their child and the accompanying stroller into the back of their minivan, I often wonder what my future wife will think of my turbulent past. There will come a time when she will read this book and probably hate me, as if my actions to that point didn’t give her reason enough. But then she is going to realize it’s me, and that she loves me for who I am, and we will continue on unhappily ever after because that’s just what happens when you find someone who can literally love you unconditionally.
Essentially, toss aside all your petty worries. Right now, your moment’s coming. Have no fear because it’s time to pull the trigger. Like Russell Westbrook implores us in his killer Mountain Dew commercials: Don’t do them. Do you.