I didn't know you.
I should have. I had plenty of opportunities, plenty of chances. Could have sent a message. Could have dropped a "Hi" on your wall. Could have picked up the phone, for god's sake.
I thought about it. I did. Plenty of times. I thought, we're family. That means something. I should let you know I'm there for you, whatever you need, I'll help. I thought, definitely, I should get in touch. Maybe you won't respond, but I should at least try.
But I never did. Talked myself out of it. Said, no, they won't want to talk to you, they barely know you. Just let them go on as they are, they'll be fine.
But you weren't fine.
Now it's too late.
The chance is gone. I can't get it back. You definitely can't either. Just. Gone.
I'll miss you. You'll never know how much. We may not have known each other, but we were family. That means something. I say it twice because it's worth repeating, again and again. Blood. A part of the same.
I can't even be there to see you off. Can't afford it. Ha, what does the world care if they don't get paid? Perhaps it doesn't matter. Either way, you're gone. It would have been better if I'd bothered with the trip before all this, huh? But that's the thing. I'd have liked to have made the gesture, even if it is too late. To be there with the rest of your family. To fully show how much you mattered to all of us, and to get some small comfort out of seeing how many others show up to pay their respects (judging by the state of your Facebook wall, that will be no small number).
But no matter where I am, I'm thinking of you. You have taught me a lesson I wish I never had to learn. I'd trade it all to have you back. Too soon. You didn't have your chance. Everyone deserves that chance.
I'll move on. But not completely. Never completely. Because now there is a hole in my life. It sounds stupid until you experience it, because that's what it is. This is a new reality. I'll adjust.
But not yet.
I didn't know you. But I'll miss you.
Last time, I did up a post about self-confidence. This is related, as many many many (many) writers have a problem with self-confidence. Many. Pretty much all, in fact.
I don't think I'm going to help that with this post. But I'm going to be honest here, at least so far as my own experience and opinions go, which is all any of us ever have to go on as far as stating the "truth".
I'm not immune to low confidence myself. It's a strange thing; you want desperately for someone to love your work, yet when someone says they do, without reservation, you're immediately suspicious. After all, you're far from a perfect writer (everyone is). There's got to be something they don't like about it. They must be lying. Why would they do that to you???
Thing is, stuff like that is, as I said previously, pretty much a part of being human. Other thing is, when we attempt something- particularly something creative and thusly personal- we tend to be even more subject to low self-confidence. We tend to wear our hearts even more on our sleeves.
Does this stop you?
A lot of writers, I've noticed, tend to, if not let it stop them completely, let it delay them. This is why a lot of beginning writers don't get out of the gate.
Don't do that.
Not because you shouldn't (you shouldn't, but me telling you that isn't going to make a difference). Not because you're right and they're wrong. Not because they're right and you're wrong. Not because they're rubber and you're glue.
Don't do it because...you can't.
Like, not because I'm telling you you can't. I mean, because you just, physically, mentally, spiritually, cannot stop writing.
Why do you write? Is it because you kind of wanted to try it someday, because your cousin Irv said he liked that comic you made in eighth grade, because you got praise from your teacher at one point? Is it because you thought it'd be easy? A nice hobby? A pastime?
Writing is none of those things.
Writing is love. Writing is anguish. Writing is despair, euphoria, all these things and more, most often right in a row. So, why does anyone ever write at all?
Because they must.
You don't write for the heck of it. It's not a choice. You write because it is who you are.
This doesn't just apply to writers, but to a lot of creative types. My Dad's a musician. You probably aren't familiar with his name (link to his stuff here; NOW you know who he is). He's been a musician for... heck. A long time. Since he was a teenager, though he might argue since he was a kid. Basically, his life. It's what he does. It's who he is.
My Dad drives me nuts in many ways (he's my Dad, after all). But I have a very high level of respect for him because he's stuck with it. And, at the same time, he is stuck with it. I understand that too. He's a musician. That's what he is. He can't not do it.
I can't not write. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I can write, that I can do this, but now that I've discovered that, I can't very well stop. It's ingrained. It's as much a part of me as my skin. You take it away; everything falls apart.
Ew. That was a really gross metaphor.
Anyway. I'm about to say something that you might not like, and this is probably an unpopular opinion. But, my blog, so I'm going to say it anyway.
If you stop writing; if you even think about stopping writing permanently; then, I hate to say it... but you're not a writer. It's not you. I don't say this lightly, but if you think about giving up... maybe you should.
If you're a real writer...then you won't be able to.
You have to want this. Not success, or even publication- I mean, of course you'll want those things, but I mean more than those. You have to want to write. You have to need to write. Whether you become as successful as J.K. Rowling, or live out your days in a cardboard box, scribbling on the walls and on the insides of empty gum wrappers.
You have to write.
*VERY BIG ADDENDUM*: The previous is, of course, my own opinion, take it or not as you will. And the important thing to remember is: this advice does NOT, not EVER, apply in cases of mental trauma or illness. Writing stems from the brain; thusly, if your brain is sick or injured in any way, the best thing you can do is take care of it. Take a break, do whatever you need to do, to get better. In such a case, stepping away is necessary.
Writer, dancer, actress, mother, me.