A few days ago, I saw a bike shop’s billboard whose ad catered to New Year’s resolutions. It had the word “resolution” crossed out. Underneath it was scrawled, “REVOLUTION.” Now, I didn’t exactly go get a bike after that (I already have a pretty sweet Giant Rainier mountain bike), but it got me thinking: Yeah, this year will be a REVOLUTION for my life and my writing. And really, the two are the same. Or, as the passionate teacher, Ms. Clark, says in my upcoming novella, Clay Man, “I do not distinguish between my work and my life.” Think about it. That’s revolutionary, huh?
For me, it is. I came up with some pretty straight-forward resolutions this year:
- keep working toward my degree
- write more and continue to publish and get published
- start a new volunteer youth group
- get back in shape (always that one, right?)
- and get married!
I can count those resolutions on five fingers, but they’re way bigger than a simple list. In fact, they’re so big that they jumped out of the “resolution” category and landed smack in the middle of “revolution”. And all these resolutions tie to one thing: my writing.
For a writer, writing is the exploration of himself. It ventures to all the corners of his mind and heart—his knowledge, loves, and fears—and challenges them…to be interesting, to be malleable or to be solid, and to be influential. And everything he does, says, or thinks in life affects his writing. For example, my novella, The Woman Alone, surprised even me as I wrote it. I had no idea I’d be interested in writing a mystery-adventure story about an exotic animal veterinarian, Susan, in Kenya chasing a “dark man” who has released a plague targeting the giraffes. Where did that come from?? Well, my mother always wanted to be an exotic veterinarian and she loves Kenya. My fiancée’s favorite animal is the giraffe. And for myself, I wanted to explore “passion” as a theme. Somehow, all of this converged into one beautiful novella. I see bits of myself and people I love sprinkled in all of the characters. There are even parts of me in the antagonist, the “dark man” that threatens Susan to satisfy his obsession. If I pretend that I don’t empathize with him, I’m lying to myself. I am what I write. How and in what way is a diagnosis best left to myself, my loved ones, and maybe psychologists, as is the case for all of us—but it reveals this important idea: I do not distinguish between my work and my life—between my writing and my life. They’re the same. They serve each other.
This year, my resolutions have become a revolution. I quit my job the beginning of this year to focus on school and writing. In fact, as I write this, my last day of work was yesterday, Jan. 23rd. (Don’t worry, my fiancée and I have squared away our finances, at least for a little while.) This is a big jump, a leap of faith (faith in myself), and an upset to the existing order. It is nothing short, therefore, of a REVOLUTION. And all of my resolutions tie to writing. School teaches me new ways to think and write; being healthy keeps my mind sharp; volunteering with a youth organization helps me empathize with different perspectives; and even getting married is all about feeling like a person who can bring great things to my love’s life, and I feel like that when I’m productively writing.
As the revolution progresses, I’ll be writing more and more. Full-time, in fact. So stay tuned. What’s mine to explore and write about is yours to embrace, to judge, to love, and to condemn, however you see fit. Writing is a solo act. Reading is a solo act. Yet they are probably the most revolutionary acts anyone has ever taken. (Maybe I’ll write about that more in the future.) Writing The Woman Alone showed me that writing is my life, just as animals are Susan’s life. So it’s 2015. Time for revolution!
What are your resolutions this year? Are they revolutionary? Let me know in a comment!