Coming back from a hiatus of any kind is never easy. My life has kind of been in a whirlwind the past month and some days I’m not even sure which way is up. Now that I’m trying to get back in the groove, I realize just how hard it is. This applies to anything you’re doing. Any time you take a break from something you do every day, it’s difficult to just jump right back into it. Sometimes you need to reincorporate it into your life in small pieces, other times, throwing yourself into the thick of it is the way to go. I’m not sure which way will work best for me right now, so I’m starting off just trying to get back into things slowly. Which is to tell you that this post has very little to do with anything but how I feel right now and what’s going on in my head. There is no other point to this than to take one small step forward.
I wanted to start by getting back into blogging a few times a week, and attending to my social media accounts more often. As well, I wanted to go back and start checking on my books. I have this problem that a lot of artists have, and that’s reading reviews of your work. I try to keep a “never read reviews” attitude, but I have yet to have any success with that. And one of the things that really continues to surprise me is the mixed reactions I’ve received from Release. I know taste is subjective, and so what I love or someone else loves, others may hate, but I guess the reason I feel surprised is because I was really proud of Release.
The third installment in The Protector was an emotional book for me. And for those of you who have read it, it isn’t just because of one major event that occurs. The whole story means something to me. It means letting go, it means change, it means self-discovery, it means starting over with new ideals and realizations that perhaps you fought with for longer than you should have. Chase has those realizations throughout the book, and he really tries to change. In fact, he changes a lot. He learns, he starts to think before he acts, he overcomes things that he never thought he could. The book was such a hurricane of feelings for me that I was excited and proud to publish it. Yet thus far, it’s the book with the most mixed reactions. Just my e-mail inbox alone can tell me that without ever reading a single review. For those that didn’t like it, it seemed boring, the pacing wasn’t right, or a number of other fairly consistent responses, but when I look back through the story, I just can’t help but feel proud of it. At the time, it was my favorite book in the series, and even still, it’s near the top. Now, Endure has captured that title and means something even more, but each installment in this series has had that effect on me. They’re each special in their own way, and individually they each represent something completely different. I have all four books on my mantle right now and when I see them, I can feel each of those things as my eyes pan from cover to cover. But Release was different. I felt exposed while writing and publishing that book, but I was too proud to feel fear that others wouldn’t feel that too. When you pour yourself so desperately into something, and it isn’t met the way you wanted it to be, it takes the wind out of your sail. Of course, that’s because you let it, but such is the weakness of man. But the point isn’t that I’m sad Release isn’t everyone’s favorite book, the point is that it all happens so fast, and it reminds you just how powerful words can be, and that’s why I write.
To experience things that only my imagination can fabricate is an experience that seems surreal. But to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and take on an adventure that leads to sadness, hardships, victories, and failures, is hard on your system. You don’t just make things up and smile because you think you wrote a good scene. You begin to create something completely different to yourself, and then before you know it you are there. You’re in the thick of it all, feeling the fire burn, tasting the tears as they roll over your cheeks and touch your lips, and you feel proud as an accomplishment is made, or an enemy is defeated. The Protector series was my life for years. Seeing it all come together in the end has left me with a sadness I honestly didn’t expect to feel. When I wrote the words The End, I was happy. Happy to move onto something new, proud of what I had accomplished, and satisfied with the way it all happened. However, now that I’m trying to get back into things, I’m not so happy. I’m still proud of what I accomplished and satisfied with the way it happened, but that story, those people, this journey…it’s gone now. Over. People will love it, people will hate it, some people won’t care either way. But it’s like…in the midst of real life and all that is happening in it, that one thing that was such a part of it is gone now. It’s on the page and no longer inside me. And perhaps I’m taking all that way more personally than I should be. Then again, those books, those imaginary people, that adventure, it changed me. It changed me as a person, it changed what happened in my life, it changed everything—some things for better, others for worse. Depending what day it is and what I’m thinking about, some times I wonder where I’d be had I never wrote a word of it. When you’re at that point in your life that leaves you open and vulnerable to anything, everything seems like a much bigger deal than it is. You know that, and you can’t help but give into it anyways. Sometimes you never realized how much something meant to you until it’s over. Now that The Protector is over, it means something totally different to me than it did. It’s a strange feeling I have yet to deal with.
Now, I read my chapters of The Nova Chronicles and they excite me. They make me fascinated at where these characters might be in two years, but on the other side of the sword is fear. Fear of what I might put those characters through, fear of what I’ll put myself through, fear it will be hated, fear that it will change everything again and I won’t know how—for better or for worse—and fear of fear itself. But here I am, staring at the keyboard and a blank screen that begs me to write. Why? Maybe for love. Love of the written word, love of emotion, love of experience, love of risk, love of reward, love of success.
This seems as good a place as any to end this post. In the end, love trumps fear. It propels you forward, it gives you the ability to leap obstacles that would crumble the strongest of men. It grants you the strength to destroy that which might destroy you. And it gives you the power to step out of the darkness, even when you’re afraid, and look fear in the eye. Once you’ve done that, you can put up your middle finger, smile, and say “screw you.” Because the only way you can truly lose, is if you let something stop you from trying.