“Ah, it’s late, isn't it, dreamland the only place left to go? So, this: write it all down, Kelly. The spit and string and sweat of us, the purl and sweep of our condemned kind. Write it all down. The hopes and fears we are, the yip and yike we are in the dark. The hand and head and heart of us. Write it all down.
Write it all goddamn down.”
These the words of advice from Lee K. Abbott to his twenty three year old son who had just admitted his heart belongs to the passion of writing; that he, too, wanted to be a writer, much like the likes of his father.
I’m reading a book that is going to change my life. And I realized it after I finished reading Abbott’s words. This book is going to change my life.
And then I placed my library slip bookmark in it and walked away from it. To write this.
I’m afraid that, as a young 22 year old who prefers the ideal to the real, I’ve walked away from one too many a dream. Living in Paris. Teaching English and living in Florence, Italy. Becoming a writer.
I think it’s high time I admit to myself that I’ve walked away from the one dream that hasn’t changed since I was in fifth grade: Kerry Rose, the writer.
Kerry Rose, the girl in love with prose, easily put above the silly want for a life companion. The girl who drinks four cups of Early Grey tea, milk & sugar please, locking herself in the den until she completes five more pages of chapter two. The girl who is always, always writing, paper or not.
I recently wrote a much admired English professor from college professing my inescapable frustration with my lack of writing these days (a man who, I can only hope, has some kind of belief in little old me to become the writer that I always wanted to be). After reading his reply I ran to the local library to check out the book he suggested I read: Letters to a Fiction Writer, by Frederick Busch. Between the plastic covered goodness lingers dozens and dozens of letters from several authors, from the likes of Ray Bradbury, Raymond Carver and Joyce Carol Oates. To say I am in heaven would be an understatement.
I am in reality, here. A reality much better than anything I imagined. John Steinbeck seems to have caught on to my not so sneaky ways of procrastination: “Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.” And boy, he’s got me down to a T.
But I’m not here to rehash everything and hand out key phrases that I think are important—I’m barely half way through the thing and I doubt that would make for an enjoyable post, anyway. I’m just here to prove to myself that I can still do this thing, this becoming a writer mission, that this dream of my mine is s t i l l in my heart.
I’m here to say that if a dream is worth chasing, it will never dare to leave your heart. This kind of a dream becomes your heart, and so long as you are living, the dream will always beat.