This exercise, this facing the darkness, is possibly one of the most challenging in the book. When you think of the darkness, that powerful resistance that is holding you back from pursuing your writing dreams, who or what is the source of it? What specific things does this darkness say to you?
If I am to be honest, and the frame of this exercise demands at least that, the biggest question I have is one that echoes through all the hollow halls of my mind. What is the point? When I am dead and dust, what will be the point of my book? When those who knew and loved me are as gone and forgotten, what of it then?
And why even look that far out? How many amazing authors' book languish tattered and torn in a dank basement or spider webbed attic or looking for second hand love in a second hand store? Even current authors, those whose works I am reading today. What of their oeuvre, the one they are still completing? Aren't their backlists just as quickly forgotten?
Perhaps I want too much. Perhaps, in my secret heart I want to cry out "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!" as my monuments languish in remote desert sands, my empire forgotten.
So what is to be the point of it then, if my books are rejected, my words are as air, my heart rendered for all to read in the brightest ink, all to be eventually swallowed by inevitable darkness.
But I do not live in tomorrow. Nor will I ever. Nor will any of us. I live only today, in the now. And the pleasure, the insight, the teaching and learning that I do now is all that really matters. The hearts I touch are the hearts of today. "I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." So be it.
My light, my life, the good that I do is in all of the ways in which I touch others. And so it is with a lighter heart and a clearer mind that I venture forth, my sword in my pen, my shield the wall of words I use to defend and protect, my characters the simulacrum of the reader, the poppet that will suffer and sweat in their stead so that we can learn the lessons of life together from the pain and pleasure of a ink-made phantom.
So what if he dies on the page, and the page he dies on turn to dust? If he has served his readers well, and taught them all he knows, then he has served his purpose and can die with all the dignity due in the facts of fiction. He has died, that we might live more broadly, more deeply and more fully. And we have lived more of the only life we have, our life of now.
* From Part 1 - Chapter 1 - Envisioning and Planning