My son turned eleven this week, and it occurs to me that as he finished work on one decade and began chipping away at another, I must have been doing the same.
Somewhere in there eleven years slipped by, and as they did I have felt an ever growing need to make sure I’ve left some at least semi-permanent mark that I was there, that I made something, built something, contributed to something over the last decade. But that isn’t what drives this blog – no, this is an entirely different thing – but I will say that it does impact my want (requirement?) to write in the novel format.
I want something I’ve written laid out in the semi-permanency of conventional print, having passed through the filter of a professional publishing house and distribution network, and all the mysterious layers and people involved who have to collectively agree that yes, we should print this and stock it on shelves in honest-to-goodness bookstores. And that’s not to bash self-publishing or those who choose that route. It’s just not what I’m after.
Wanting to leave your mark in the world is nothing new, people have been doing it for generations. Only the vehicles change: for some it is a blog – a digital legacy contingent on the availability of electricity. For others it’s conventional art, or architecture, or simply a name carved in a tree. Perhaps a loving influence they left on some young life. But for me its pages. Lots and lots of pages. And I have no idea why. It just… is.
My mark needs to be printed and bound and set on a shelf; published novels that my son can point to one day and say “oh, those? My dad wrote those.”
If I can do that, I give myself a gold star.