I have spent my life finding my way home. I find it and I leave, and then I find it and I leave until I find it once more. I leave my home for the same foreign lands again and again, cities of noise and constant striving. I often mistake these places for home until I feel a yearning that nothing in the world can relieve. This is also called despair, until I remember home and begin my journey. I do not think I am so different than anyone else. This is hard to remember when I sit at the same table with a friend. There he is across from me, and yet it is entirely possible that we are in two different countries trying to reach the same destination. Home is the same for everyone, yet no two can get there by the same route. And so I might suggest we take a plane, for I am stranded on a kind of island.
“That’s unnecessary,” says my friend. “We’ll just drive.”
“If we drive, we’ll drown.”
“Drown in what?”
“There is no ocean.”
“Are you blind?”
“Are you crazy?”
Such are arguments when everywhere that isn’t home is an illusion we believe with absolute certainty. I think about this when writers and readers debate which book is better than the other. These are questions that can only end in argument. Those books, like everything else in the world, are signposts and lighthouses for travelers. If you are not traveling by way of a certain book, it is of no use to you in your journey, and perhaps you call it dull, or pretentious, or just bad.
But if you are traveling by way of that book it can become a beacon reminding you in some small way of where you are headed. So write your own way home. There is no difference between your home and a stranger’s, and if you can find your way perhaps you will help another, and there you can meet in a place that is all agreement.
Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.