To Be Strong
Columns that still stand at the Temple of Hercules.
I never hold back my conversation. I know this is a point of ridicule in the situation I am in, and I sometimes long for the days when being a conversationalist was considered a point of good character. When I am asked how I am doing, I will tell you, not in just polite passing, that is degrading to you, in my mind. I think that being honest is the first quality to strive for, but in this world of half-truths and constant propaganda, people in america find it quaint and amusing. I am not ruled by a television or a newspaper, I only pay scant attention, instead, I read books that expand my consciousness. The best ideas, the greatest people in the books, are the ones who say forthright and solidly what they think.
Currently, I am reading “Fathers and Sons” by Ivan Turgenev, which on its own, is one of the most disturbing books ever written in Russia. I find I am like both Arkady and Bazarov, because I am fond of art and music, but I tend to be blunt and get right at the heart of a matter. I am reminded, it was my grandfather, who was laying on his deathbed, who told me, by pointing on a card with words on it, “Always be strong. They will not like you, but I want you to be strong.” I had to go through hoops to see him, my mother and aunt did not want me to see him, but he always saw through all the stupid family drama I had to endure. I finally got a ride from my stepsister to see him on his deathbed. The hospital even tried to keep me away from him, thanks to my aunt and my mother. Those words have stayed by me my whole life, and I have never been one to lie or be dishonest, and it has caused me problems sure, but eventually, it led me to my one true love.
Reading and writing lets me ease my mind about such things, because here I can let myself say what I want, right, wrong, or horribly misinformed, or overly informed, it makes now the place to be. I can think what I want about a person in a book, and it does not matter, and I can say what I want, as many different people as I might need to say what I want. I am currently searching for where I want to write my first book, and because of the freedom of fiction, I have settled that there is where I want to write my first book. I am way tending towards nonfiction, I would really like to write in total realism, but that would only truthfully be told in an autobiography, and I am nowhere near the end of my career, instead only starting. I am sure I could write about my early life, but I do not see the point, as it is mostly pointless. Interesting, sure, but pointless, yes, a life mostly wasted in either self-gratification or wallowing in despair.
Ten years from now, I can write a grand book about my life, as I piece the parts of the puzzle together and become a writer. I am looking forward to the challenge of changing my life and my career to reflect the world around me. I have settled in nicely in writing this blog, doing it quickly and without remorse to what I do, which is all I was trying to get to. I have hard days to write and I have good days, but none the less, I am writing. I can produce a 1000 word blog in about an hour, unless I am struggling, like I was yesterday. I could not write yesterday, I couldn’t do it, I kept getting mental white out, and was not moving forward, so I stole out a ride on my bicycle. I got about 2km into it, and I said to myself, “No, get your ass back in there and write.” I struggled and piecemealed a letter to my fiance and the blog, and they were both horrible and entwined in a way I did not like, and then I hit publish and send. I had written, and I had written the worst in a long time, and I had to communicate verbally the ideas to her I was trying to convey, but I wrote.
I am starting to understand what Grandpa meant. I must be true and strong, and I can be great. I will never be great being wishy-washy and insubstantial. I had a great conversation with my lovely fiance, and it was predetermined by the writing, the bad writing. Today, I am refreshed and awake, and ready to take on the pen, and sit it out and make something great happen. I am going to write her again, and this time I will write a beautiful letter, and I will write in my blog again, although I may hold off publishing it until tomorrow.
If you are starting out, there is one repeated advice that is said over and over, and I must say, take it to heart. Write, write badly, write godlike, but write. Write when you do not want to, write when you think you will explode if you don’t get words out, but always write. I lost three days due to a strange occurence in my life, and that is what I most regret about it, I did not write.
I would like to add to that advice, be strong. Be firm in your conviction to write, and to write what you want to say. The only voice ultimately that is heard is your voice, and all the things it might say. It can have many results, some good, some bad, but your voice is the one people are going to hear, no matter what you think. So be who you are, and do not copy or meld a bunch of other writers into you. You have your ideas and experiences, and they are strong enough to carry to other humans. I would love to be Hemingway or Turgenev, and maybe, one day, if I stay true to myself, I can be.