Ever since I began writing Paralian four years ago, my childhood dreams have come alive again. A storyteller is what I always wanted to be. I’ve longed to write and publish books for as long as I can remember.
Since I began doing just that, finding enough money and time to keep on writing has been a tight wire act. What day job should I take so I don’t get too disenchanted, too disillusioned about life? How can I commute with thousands of others every day, whilst at the same time remaining inspired, creative sparks lighting up my horizon like millions of fireflies on a warm summer’s night? How far can I reduce working hours to keep on writing but still be ok and provide for my family? Do I need to worry about being almost fifty years old, with no savings and no real life plan to speak of?
Mostly, I am following my gut. It is telling me, at this point I need not be concerned with financial success. It is telling me to ignore my age and live life to the fullest. I have a supportive partner who loves me no matter what and believes in me. This alone makes me wake up with a smile every single day and gives me strength. I need to keep up the momentum. No one who has played it safe has ever gotten anywhere. Being dedicated, focused, and trusting the process is essential. Working hard and never giving up on my dream will in the end make me happier than any material wealth ever could.
Paralian is a first book I can be proud of. I tapped into something magical while writing it. If I just keep going, I will be able to create a few more books over the years. Maybe, at some point, those books will even be sold in actual book stores with posters saying “coming soon” and people asking for the latest “Klenk”, then heading to a quiet corner to immerse themselves for a couple of hours. Maybe, some of them will even be unable to stop and read through the night, just to see what happens next.
“You’re not frivolous Tom. Back in the caveman days our ancestors would huddle around the fire at night. Wolves would be howling in the dark, just beyond the light. And one person would start talking. And he would tell a story so we wouldn’t be so scared in the dark.”
This is from the movie ‘Genius’ (2016), a true story. Editor Max Perkins comforts his author Thomas Wolfe in a moment of doubt… assuring him that, as a storyteller, he is fulfilling a need in people older than time, something vital and irreplaceable.
I’ve always felt like this about stories as well, be they true or imagined. It’s why I am so passionate about both reading and writing. Stories help us find our way. They make life more bearable. They comfort us and let us know we’re not alone with our troubles, not alone in being lost at times.
Today’s a writing day.
As of now, I am four chapters into my second book.
And I guess it’s time to share with you what it will be about.
I can’t say too much yet since I am still in the developing phase and, honestly, am making it up as I go along.
It’ll have depth.
It’ll be fun.
It’ll make you think.
It’ll make you laugh and cry.
It’ll be unusual.
That I can promise.
The working title of my new book is “Word of Mouse”. It is semi-autobiographical but rather than on me, it will focus on the wonderful animal companions I’ve been privileged to have by my side over the years. In anecdotal short stories, “Word of Mouse” will focus on the life lessons they taught me. On being yourself and letting others be just as they are. And on the importance of truly listening to the souls around us.
So watch this space 🙂 It’ll be worth it.
“Some people talk to animals.
Not many listen though.
That’s the problem.”
(A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh)
Anyone else know this feeling: many times, in the middle of the night, I wake up able to remember complex dreams that feel like thrillers or epic tales of adventure. Then, during the one minute during which I surface from my dream universe, I think, “Wow, this is awesome. I need to make notes immediately!” Inevitably, my body refuses to cooperate and I drift back into the story I emerged from.
Sometimes, I even dream about ideas and about developing them.
Or I find myself in a half-awake-half-asleep daze with visions and creative ideas chasing each other… yet my exhausted mind isn’t able to focus on a single one.
Then the morning comes. I wake up, open my eyes, and vaguely remember creative sparks that seemed divine at the time. Yet no matter how hard I try to grasp a single one of those rays of magic, they are gone… resting safely in a land of their own…
I am spending the afternoon writing at Starbucks with my notebook and a vanilla latte. Funny how this really is the perfect backdrop to writing a book (provided the place isn’t too crowded). Soft elevator music in the background, droning, indistinct voices, the rattle and hum of coffee machines, scents of sugary delicacies, and the sense of this being an exile far removed from the daily grind. After all, these cafes all look alike. I’ve experienced their laid-back atmosphere everywhere and could be in Singapore, New Delhi, Alaska, Zurich, or Timbuktu for all I know… What better than the promise of diversity and space to get the words flowing…
Good stories touch you so deeply, your heart rate accelerates. You feel enchanted, glimpsing the entire meaning of existence for the briefest of moments.
I’m addicted to finding those kind of tales. It can be anything from true life stories to fantasy. Be it immersing myself in 3D cinematic bliss, watching movies at home, binge-watching TV series, or devouring book after book.
I don’t want to be educated too bluntly, don’t want a narrow view of existence. Instead, I want to read about all kinds of backgrounds. I want to be surprised, taken on adventures. I want to broaden my mind and be able to identify with the main characters to such an extent, I disappear for a while, imagining myself in their shoes so thoroughly the “real” world fades away.
Lately, dabbling in writing stories myself, these are the kind of unforgettable journeys I want to take you on as well. I began by sharing my own odyssey in ‘Paralian’… now what to do next? I can’t imagine only writing about being trans. It would mean going right back into the prison I escaped from so many years ago. Wide, open horizons are what I crave, what I’ve always craved…