It's been a while.
I haven't written in this thing for a while, part self-promotion tool, part political platform, part self-discovery item, for a very simple reason: I thought I had run out of worthwhile things to say. For someone who not only prides himself on the ability to use words to make a point, but thinks that this ability will directly impact and influence his future, this represents a sizable crisis of faith.
Ordinarily, especially in a political cycle rife with causes worth championing, I would have no shortage of opinion on either of the Presidential candidates, or the completely screwed-up times we live in. I would offer up a cautionary tale of where we were headed as a society. I didn't, not because I had a shortage of opinion. This summer I let the thought creep into my head that I had a shortage of qualification.
More accurately, I asked myself the hard question "Who am I?"
If you want to split hairs, the words "the f***" might have appeared in that question somewhere.
We all have these times, I've noticed, where we wonder what business we have doing what we're doing. Even the most confident, bold, and ambitious of us stop and look around as ask ourselves what in the blue hell we did to get here and what in the world we are exactly trying to accomplish. This past summer I privately questioned a lot of things about myself as a writer, as an intellectual, and as a man.
Who the (hell) am I to have an opinion on politics? These things are bigger than me.
Who the (hell) am I to expect to be taken seriously as a writer? Serious writers don't self-publish.
Who the (hell) am I to think I have a chance at success? Successful people have a lot more going for them.
Well, for starters, I am a citizen. Not just an American citizen. That is simply my nationality. I am a member of the 7 billion-strong global community, where as small as my voice is on the grander scale of things, it still matters. The policies put forth by the people who represent me to the country and to the world are of great importance, and I have a right and a responsibility to make my voice heard in that process. I am represented by a group of people who will marginalize me and people like me at their convenience unless we make it impossible to do so, and the way to do that is to pay attention, absorb the information, form an opinion, and join the debate.
I expect to be taken seriously as a writer simply because I take myself seriously as a writer. It's impossible to take someone seriously who doesn't present themselves as serious. And you don't do that by screaming at the top of your lungs "Hey, I'm a writer, take me seriously." You learn the craft. You evolve your style. you ignore the nay-sayers, and when they ask you if you're still doing that, you shrug and say "well, yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
As for success, well, I came to realize that there are two components: vision and drive. Know what you want to the point that you can see it, and go get it. Chase it like it were the most important thing in the world to you. Never stop. Sure, the successful people have something going for them that I may not yet: success. But effort is the catalyst. See it. Get it. Every success story has a beginning.
As the calendar turns to October, I find my faith renewed and my resolve strengthened. I will use my voice. I will be more serious about my writing. I will succeed. These things are well within the scope of ability.
To anyone out there suffering a crisis of faith, and who finds themselves asking that question "Who the (hell) am I to..." the answer is simple. You are the author of your success story. And today is chapter one.