photo: Alvaro Barrientos
All my life I’ve been unbeatable at fantasizing. Day-dreamer is my middle name. If I was bullied on the way home from school, I’d fantasize about sweeping back in as a warrior queen, striking down the bullies from high up on my horse. If someone was harassed on the bus, I’d go away in my head to a parallel universe where I was stronger and more sure of myself and not too scared to say something. I used to dream up the image of myself as a good person, because to be one in real life seemed so far-fetched.
All my life I’ve been unbeatable at being scared. Maybe that’s a better, more honest way of putting it. And dreaming up the image of myself as a good person was my comeback, my outlet, in a world too overwhelming to take up arms – for it or against it.
I’ve gotten better. The world has gotten smaller and more comprehensible, and years of hard work have taught me my rightful place in it; whether I’m a hero or not, I belong.
But that tendency to go away inside my head is still there. The shores of fantasy land are always beckoning, ESPECIALLY when in the real world there’s a risk of running things into the ground.
This is why I started writing in English. Under a barely functional pseudonym. And – at first – about stuff that barely mattered. Why? Because I was scared. In order to be able to write AT ALL I needed to make my book like a fantasy in my head. Something that couldn’t possibly be real. Something that couldn’t possibly rock anyone’s boat or disturb anyone’s peace. A real book, that people can actually dislike, or worse, ignore? Ha! Never.
I need my space, I need my peace.
I need this fantasy.
And now…yeah. You guessed it. Now the fantasy is starting to get real.
I haven’t quite finished the manuscript yet. I’m waiting to revisit my finished draft, and tinker with it some more. But there’s only so much tinkering you can do, you know?
At some point you have to stop tinkering.
And when I finally finish, then…I’ll have a finished manuscript. AND THEN WHAT?
See, this is not something I threw together one rainy Tuesday afternoon. This is the one place where I let my dreams take the shape of reality. This is an actual thing that actually matters to me. Hello world. This is my best offer.
What if it sucks? What if I can’t sell it? What if I can sell it but nobody buys it? What if I can sell it and a few people buy it but nobody likes it?
I have to laugh at myself at this point. It’s the only thing I can do, really – but I’m also laughing because out of this great, absurd mess something beautiful could come. And I don’t mean a best-seller.
What I mean is that this fear gives me an opportunity to feel a connection with all the writers in the world, and all the people who ever dared to create something out of nothing. This fear allows me to understand all the people who ever dreamed of something and then made that thing a reality, even though they were scared. This whole bloodcurdling roller coaster ride is an opportunity for me to see that I’m not alone, that I can be a real person in the world and do real things, even if they fail. And that failing won’t mean that I’m a bad person. Only that I’m part of this world.
So I think that’s where this tunnel of fear is leading me. This book is helping me become part of the world. And I’m ready to step out on the other side into the light and say hello.
And I’m also scared shitless.
It’s a glorious experience.