For a long time I neglected my painting and sculpture, even though I had once been as obsessive about them as my writing. In the last few years I have returned to my painting, first to illustrate my 2 children’s books and later to do pro-bono work for local animal welfare groups. Now I am doing considerable painting of all sorts. I have not given up on writing or being published, but I am not going to throw myself on the pyre of the publishing business either (not when God has given me such wonderful talents in other areas that I can use to glorify Him, help others (human and animal), and delight myself in). Already I have had offers for commissions and much encouragement from others.
The more I do of it, the more I learn, the richer it becomes for me. Now it sometimes surpasses the delight I feel in writing. That’s good! There is a new wholeness in me. I once heard it said that if you are not alright without some particular desire, you will never be alright with it. I believe that is so. In years to come, I may make money with my work (though it is not my goal at this moment). If I do so, I may self-publish. Also, if this current world-wide economic disaster ever ends, perhaps there will be more opportunity for writers to be published.
Still, I am living comfortably in my own home on a beautiful wooded lot. I look out my studio windows (which surround my studio on 3 sides) and see it in all seasons. It was there for me for the last 33 years and yet I spent a lot of that life not fully appreciating it for want of being published and living in Manhattan or Los Angeles where all the VIP’s were and (hopefully married to one of them). What a waste that was. What a crime. How deeply I regret it now. I love this place and the neighbors that live here and my sister and her family only about 30 miles away and my cat (Chantal) and all the woodland creatures that share this vernal paradise with me. I also love the single life. It is not for everybody, but it is for me.
During this economic crisis, massive numbers have lost their homes, jobs, health, minds. Not long ago a man (long out of work)shot to death his wife, children and himself. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq drag on. We are enmeshed in a world of horror. Yet here in this place I have all I really need and most of what I want. If I were a rich and famous writer at this moment, I would still want to live here.
There is another point I must confront and deal with too. If published, it would be hard for me to promote my book by taking long tours of book signings, interviews, and speeches since I do not get around well and there is the catheter. To take full advantage of publication for myself and my publisher, I should get the weight down, get in shape and learn to walk as well as possible. The prospect of all that so overwhelmed me at one time that I was almost glad to retreat into my cocoon, safe and anonymous. But that did not last long. Bitterness was only occasional, but carried that torturous sting of what might have been. As someone once said, Nothing tastes that good. Also, I knew I must exercise and eat right just to preserve life and good health.
My life and its overall quality had to be more important than being published or being a fine painter or anything else. I began taking action, one tiny step at a time. It may take years. It occurred to me that I would now get as great a thrill out of being able to get up and walk with ease and safety (without a walker ) as I would have gotten some 25 years ago from being successfully published. Then walking was just the usual and nothing to cheer about. How ironic life is.
Why did being published matter so much anyhow? – The great thing I wanted from being published is what I experienced over 20 years ago when my gay friend and those others read my novel, loved it, and asked me questions about it. That was golden then and would be now. Even as I joyfully pursue my painting, sometimes I recall a passage from one of the novels that I know others would enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it and there’s a sting. It does not last long, but it makes me know there is unfinished business and I don’t give up – I wish the same for you with your great dream! I think our dreams are a huge part of who we really are.