I tend to agree with Edgar Allan Poe who believed that all works should be short. “There is”, he writes, “a distinct limit… to all works of literary art—the limit of a single sitting.” He especially emphasized this “rule” with regards to poetry, but also noted that the short story is superior to the novel for this reason.
It was in the fifth or sixth grade, I believe. The class was watching a film bringing to life Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart. A gruesome story to be sure, but on that day, I fell in love with Macabre Master’s work. During library time, I read a book of his short stories, and it was then I knew I wanted to tell my own tales.
In class, I received plenty of encouragement. First from Mr. Ron Rincavage in junior high, and then from Miss Ann Roback in high school.
Like Poe, my writing was full of dark imagery. Many of my stories centered on death and violence. I shudder to think what medications would be dispensed if I was a student in this day and age. However, waaay back in the 70s and 80s, teachers sought to embolden and expand our imaginations.
In addition to my teachers, my parents were always positive about my creative outlet. And for years, that is what it has been, an outlet. I have written everything from poems, to flash fiction, to short stories, to novellas and novels.
I have given half-hearted attempts to find publishers and agents, but I never had the courage to pursue my creative art as a viable way to earn a living. I didn’t listen to my educators. I didn’t listen to my parents. No, I listened to negative naysayers.
Those who never had, let alone, followed dreams.
Those who overpopulate my hometown region.
Those who lived, and continue to live, lives of quiet desperation.
I listened so much, I became one of them. I went aimlessly from career to career. Always taking the safe route, never exploring the fire that has smoldered. The passion has always been there, but I never had it in me to bring the fire to full fruition. To give it the fuel to make it brightly burn. Like the old man’s eye, it has taunted me. It has challenged me to do something about it. I wanted to, I just didn’t want to enough.
I am currently a self-published, independent author. I not only tell my tales, I now put them out for the public to read. I have been content with that, but not genuinely happy. I have made this year the year I will achieve my lifelong goal of becoming a noted author. With the support of good friends, I am taking my writing to the next level. Whether continuing independently, or finding a traditional publisher, this will be the year I break through. This will be the beginning of my long delayed and much anticipated writing career.
Whether weak or weary, I will continue to endure.
I will go on at my keyboard, relentlessly a tapping,
Composing and writing even if to rest is only gentle napping,If need be, I will go door to door vigorously a rapping.
Rejections I will suffer, but continue on I will, in the end achieving success, it is only that which I will accept, that and nothing more.
Thank you to my family, friends and educators. And to he who lit the fire so long ago, and thank you Mr. Poe.