When I left the restaurant business in 2007, I had published one novel with a very small press, a few roleplaying adventures, and little else. Yet I had become very interested in the imagination, and free will, and the Law of Attraction, and perception, and how all of these ideas related to writing – or, as I began to see it, making something on purpose. I wanted very much write about this and, perhaps even more, to talk to people about it. It was easy to write about – that I could do without anyone else’s cooperation – but how exactly would I find anyone who would want me to talk to them about it? It seemed impossible. I was a barely-published writer who’d spent the last seventeen years waiting tables. Yet the impossibility of it could not stop me from wanting to do it, could not stop me from thinking and thinking about it, could not stop me from imagining what I might say if there were someone to say it to.
By and by I found myself talking to my wife about these things, and also my brother, and my good friend Chris, and then my new friend Brian, and then sometimes people who weren’t even my friends exactly but merely acquaintances with similar interests. I was not getting paid to do this, of course, I was simply incorporating it into conversation, and so the idea being specifically asked to speak to strangers seemed impossible still. Such was the nature of my doubt. There was very little physical evidence to support my desire. Anyone can want something; reality is when you actually see it and have it and live it.
Even when the day came that someone wrote me an email asking me to come speak to her writing organization, my doubts followed me onto the airplane and into the classroom where all these strangers were gathered to listen to my talk. What evidence had I that this would go well? None. All I had, all I possessed, all I could see and feel and know, was my desire to do it. This, it turns out, was sufficient.
Flying back that night after the talk, I glanced out the window at the lights of the world below. The plane shook and jumped as we struck turbulence, and I was made suddenly aware of the frailty of flight. With a little work, I could doubt this plane’s ability make it safely home, the same as I could doubt the next talk would go well – if there even were a next talk. Yet I could just as easily not doubt it, could remember instead that I was headed home, where I knew I would continue to dream of what I’d like to say next.
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com