“Sometimes the monsters win, Charlie.”
Those were the last words he ever spoke to me. Head down, hands in his pockets, eyes concealing the horrible truth of what he was about to do to the both of us.
What was it that scared me more? The defeat in his voice? Seeing vulnerability in a man who was impervious even to death itself? Or was it the fact that I trusted him enough to take his hand as he held it out to me, knowing with every atom of my being that another step forward would seal both our fates?
I didn’t stop him as he leaned down to kiss me. Soft lips, warm hands, shoulders trembling as if he were braced against a crushing weight. He locked me in an embrace that said everything his lips couldn’t: goodbye. I love you. Don’t be afraid. This is the only way.
Go set the world ablaze, fire girl.
And then there was nothing but the heat exploding through every nerve, searing blood and bone and thought. The pain was total, infinite; everything and everywhere. There were no lungs for me to fill with breath, no tears for me to cry. I burned within and without until I was a living pyre, a star on the verge of a supernova—only, I wasn’t dying.
I was rising.
And it wasn’t until the pain subsided, and I opened my eyes, that I would know the cost of my rebirth.
This is the prologue to the story I’ve been writing for over 5 years now.
Actually, this is probably about the 13th prologue I’ve written for the story I’ve been writing for 5 years now.
You see, that’s the thing about myself and a lot of other writers out there–we’re completely self-defeating. We write, re-read, grimace, and delete. We go on day-long writing binges because the words just won’t stop flowing and then we go back later and wipe it all away. We criticize and critique before there’s anything to really criticize or critique!
It’s like drawing up plans to build this beautiful house, the house of your dreams, and you’ve barely built the framework when you decide to light the whole thing on fire.
Many of us get bogged down by the fact that writing is work. Pure and simple. It’s something you have to do when you feel like it, and it’s something you have to continue to do even when the words aren’t shooting like a New York Time’s Best-Seller from your fingertips.
Sometimes writing is a love/hate relationship. But you still have to do it, because if you’re anything like me, then NOT doing it basically drives you insane.
You have to keep writing even if you don’t think it’ll ever make it to print, that it will ever become a “fandom”, or become a silver-screen hit featuring a cast hand-selected by you and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. You have to keep writing even if there are plot holes and underdeveloped characters.
You (I) have to keep writing even if you’re (I’m) on the 34th version of your (my) rough draft. You have to punch through the writer’s blocks, leap over the plot holes, and belly flop into shallow characters, because that’s what builds better writing. Writing and writing and reading and reading.
This isn’t a lecture, it’s more a motivational speech for myself to get off my figurative ass and finish this story–if for no other reason than to say that I did. It’s time for me to put away the excuses and write, even if it’s crap. All I have to do is put one word in front of the other approximately 90-thousand times until I’m done.