Tag Archives: Absolute Write

Why the Past is Prologue

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Me in Venetian bookstore Acqua Alta, which has bathtubs and gondolas full of books. Taken by a friend, 2006

Even though I published my first post on Sunday, What’s Past is Prologue was created, WordPress records inform me, June of 2008–something I only vaguely recall. The one draft languishing in a forgotten stream of ones and zeros proudly declares:

Forget everything else. It’s all in the past, it’s superfluous, it’s a dagnabbit prologue, and how many people read those anyway? We’re talking here, we’re talking now, and we’re talking serious.

It’s time to get down to business.

For the past I-don’t-know-how-many years, I’ve been a struggling writer of fiction. And while I have felt my craft grow and strengthen and blossom like a bunch of bleedin’ petunias

Not even a period. How’s that for commitment?

The thing is, even though I’ve written my entire life, most of what I have to show for it was created while still a teenager, or in the few months of my early twenties that weren’t complicated. Oh, I’ve actively written: several drafts of most of a novel, several drafts of most of another novel, about a million drafts of that first serious attempt at a novel, never-to-be-abandoned, a couple collaborations with writer friends, half-finished stories, my proscribed million words of utter crap–but what have I to show for it?

I posted it yesterday.

Part of the problem is I’m afraid of failure. Have been all my life: I’d sooner run away from home than bring my parents a B on my report card. It translates to my creative endeavors. If I never finish something, no one can reject it, right? If I spend eternity tinkering and rewriting, there can be no confirmation that I suck.

I know I don’t suck. But no one else can tell me that, because how would they know? High school English teachers loved me, I had a couple stories published in a local independent book store anthology. (Had a book signing and everything–didn’t I think I was special). But now I’m 26, newly married and a preschool teacher, spinning stories in my head I wouldn’t dare tell a toddler but have no one else to tell. If I finish something, maybe that can start changing.

This is my attempt to finish something.

The things I don’t want to lose are my passion for the written word and my love of stories. Life is going to kill them, if I don’t get my act together. So this blog is the sum of all I’ve experienced in life, posted here for the world to see, even if that world is a few scattered Internet People blowing in from who knows where. (Still not sure how this whole networking thing works, another reason for the blog. By the way, hi Internet People! Thanks for reading!)

Someone posted this on Absolute Write yesterday, and it hit me hard. I used to post on that forum all the time, but then the posting became more important than the writing, so I quit. When I regain enough confidence maybe I’ll try again, but until then, the quote:

Never mistake activity for achievement. -John Wooden

I looked him up. He’s considered the coach of the 20th century. Surely he knew a thing or two about success and failure.

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