Psst. Psssssssst. Hey. Yeah, you, skillfully lurking about this blog. Guess what month it is. November? Well, yeah, psshaw. But what does that mean? Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, time off from work, hot
mom’s in yoga pants filling up on pumpkin-spice-everything? Sure. I’ll give you that. It also means NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. And if you’ve been lurking on this blog, like I know you have, you’ve heard me mention it… oh about a bijillion times.
This morning, however, as I sit here with my cup of coffee and my fingers gleefully clack-clacking away at the keyboard, I don’t want to tell you about the event itself, so much as what it means to me. Hell, what writing means to me. And then, at the end, I’m going to ask you to do something. Nay, I’m going to beg you to do something. So, if you can bare with me for, oh about 4-5 paragraphs, we’ll get to the begging, alrighty?
I’ve been reading books since I was around four years old. At the age of seven I read “The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough and then moved on to a whole library full of books that were probably meant for adults and not me, but hey, who ever said I cared about “meant fors”, right? Somewhere, around the age of 10, I got the notion in my head that I wanted to write these books. Here were these awesome, amazing, soul-bending, mind-twisting, heart-wrenching other worlds that I could go to and forget mine for awhile. I’m not saying I had this super-hard life, but you know at times it had its valley’s just like it had its peaks. When I got in those valleys, books saved me.
Also around the age of ten my thoughtful, caring, wonderfully permissive mother brought home an old typewriter from a yard sale and gave me a ream of paper. I can remember the excitement that went through my body when I saw that thing. Yeah, it was old. Yeah, it was dirty and banged up. It was however, mine. I imagined at the time that it was what Arthur must have felt when he laid his hands around the hilt of Excalibur. Just before he drew it from the stone. That electricity that ran through his body, knowing that this is was what he was made for. So, too, was the feeling as my fingers first laid across those metal keys.
I’m not saying that I sat down and banged out the Great American Novel, or even a really great short story. No, I sat down and plunked out what today would be called Fan Fiction, based on one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. It was utter crap. Here’s a secret though, one that it took me almost thirty years to understand. 90% of what artists put out the first time, is utter crap, garbage, ka-ka, poo-poo. It takes hard work. Sitting down for hours, massaging, tweaking and editing the hell out of it, to get it anywhere near a semblance of – passably nice.
I kept writing though. Anything that came to my little mind, I scribbled, typed, etched words on paper. In high school I began to grow insecure about what I wanted to be when I grew up. All the other kids were like “I want to be a Doctor”, “I want to be a Lawyer”, “I want to be President of the United States” and here I was… “Um, I want to be a writer”… Grown-ups, in their infinite wisdom began sounding like Bumble the Beadle from Oliver, “What? A Writer? Don’t you know you’ll be penniless and hungry?” I am sad to say, that I let their negativity and their own failed dreams get to me. There were two teachers who were kind enough, thoughtful enough and smart enough to help counter-act these others. Mrs. James, my English teacher, and Mr. Lewis, my Government teacher. Mrs. James instilled in me the thought that I could do this, I could keep writing and that I needed to. Mr. Lewis taught me to not care what other people thought about my own dreams and to follow them. Part of why I write, is to not let them down.
We’ve finally arrived to the part of this blog post that you’ve been hoping for, the part where I beg. You see, I told you a bit of my story, the reasons I write – because I want to give other people a place to escape to, it’s a part of me, a destiny, a calling, and because there are people who have cheered me on, people I don’t want to let down. There are 316 million people in the United States right now… I am willing to bet there are other kids out there that are just like I was. There sitting in high schools wanting to write, but being told that it’s a waste of time, to pick a better career and to quit day dreaming. So my begging, is for you to help them out. To give them a chance, a leg up and a much-needed shot in the arm saying “You can do this.”
Part of NaNoWriMo is the “Night of Writing Dangerously”. It’s pretty much an excuse to dress up in Noir-fashion, write for six straight hours, drink and have fun, but to get there, we raise money towards the organizations Young Writer’s Program. My begging is asking you to fish out your credit card, your paypal information and throw down a few dollars. Donate $1, $5, $25 heck $125, whatever you can afford, as most charitable organizations state – “Every little bit helps”. Read through the young writer’s program and see what this organization is doing for writer’s out there that were like me at one time. Maybe you once dreamed of being a writer yourself, but never followed through. Here is a chance to help them.
If you’re wondering, I donated. $125. I say this, not to toot my own horn, but to show you I put my money where my mouth is. I would be deeply honored if you donated through my page: http://www.classy.org/dhsayers and helped me give our young writers a chance to pursue there dreams.