“Hey, when you are a famous writer, can you give me some of your money?”
I snorted at your request. I don’t even think that I snort that often, but I definitely snorted at this.
“Writers don’t exactly make bank,” I told you.
“All you have to do is write the next Harry Potter.” You said it so nonchalantly, as if we all have a plotline packed with broomsticks and magic tucked up our sleeves waiting to skitter out and walk the tight rope of our lined paper.
Let’s clear one thing up: You and I, we don’t really talk. We don’t share secrets over coffee. We don’t contemplate our lives’ callings together. I don’t know if I could ever tell you that a lot of us are not looking for a bestseller to make us rich. That isn’t the reason we roll out of bed in the morning and scribble a storyline onto a grocery receipt. I wish I could tell you that it happens more like this: One day we begin piling characters into our notebooks, we begin stealing dialogue from the mouths of those we eavesdrop upon, we begin studying the way His hand slipped into Hers, as if we had never seen anything quite like it before. And then we begin looking for the words to talk about the things that we can never fully understand. Love. Loss. Happiness. Robust Sadness. And when we started talking– letting our dialogue & characters & ideas touch down to kiss the paper– we realized we could never stop. We realized we had found a way to fill our days and some kind of longing in our souls writing about the things we know we will never fully understand.
I’ll just add that to the list of things you will never know. Things you will never understand.
A Cloak of Somber fell upon our conversation. Like the snow outside the window, light & lofty. Before the Blizzard Hit.
“But seriously,” you said. “When you become a famous writer, will you write a story about me and give me a more heroic ending?“
I realized our differences in that single question. Tucking the tears back, I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.
I spend my days plucking heroic endings from a sky and you spend yours praying upwards and outwards for a more heroic ending. I’m struggling to call myself a writer these days. You are looking for the backspace button for nine years of Wrong Turns that brought you here. Right Here. Asking me to find a fictional ending for your nonfiction disaster.
“I cannot give you a heroic ending,” I told you. “You have to do that for yourself.”
Any writer knows that there are words that go said. And Words that Go Unsaid. Here are the ones for you.The words I left unsaid:
I would Struggle & Wrestle & Grapple with the Gods of Fiction and Nonfiction all of my life if it meant I could stitch up a new ending for you. I’d throw out rules of “good grammar” if it gave me a shot at handing you a comma before you picked up your own period. I would put down my pencil for good, never tell another story, if it meant you could tell your Single Story and have it come out Happy.
But it is just one of those things that I don’t understand, another one of life’s little concepts that I can never find all the answers for. Why you lost & I won. Why you stayed younger when we all got older. Why you found the darkness when we all stayed to play in the light of the street lamps.
I have asked a lot of you. I know that. I get that. But if you allow me to ask you just one more thing then I promise we can leave the rest behind. Crumbled & Messy. But Left Behind:
Come to me when you are ready. When your Pride falls away. When your guard comes down. Come to me and we can search the ground for syllables, just like we used to scour the yard for chocolate eggs. I’ll stay searching with you until the street lights come on. Until Long After. Until we unearth every Letter, every Point of Punctuation. Until we piece all the words together to make your Heroic Ending.
Come to me and we can search. And we can label our story together as “Lost and Found.” But I will scratch off the Lost and just focus on the Found.
Together we will Lose ever knowing that you ever got Lost and just focus on Finding the truth in your Found.