Friday, October 16, 2015

Dream Chaser: Of Monsters and Me

I was different from most kids growing up. When they ran to get inside before darkness settled, I wanted to stay out longer. I wanted to see the moon, watch the bats do their aerial dances in its beams. I wanted to walk through the woods and see the glowing eyes staring back from just beyond the shadows. I wasn’t worried about monsters. So many associate darkness with evil, hatred, and depression. For me, it’s just the opposite. For me, the reality was that the real terrors happened in daylight and the darkness was (and still is) my sanctuary. In the dark I find peace, a comforting silence. The world settles down, the hustle and bustle slows. Lights dim, the sun falls, and everything takes on a sense of calm. The air cools, becomes crisp, and I take a deep breath and relax.

I guess it comes back to that word ‘monster’. I suppose we all have our own ideas of what a monster is and everyone is haunted by something. My path to success has been one of many celebrations, but it hasn’t been easy, especially lately. I’ve made many choices, and sacrifices, just to get this far. Those are the things that haunt me; the nightmares that wake me up in cold sweats, trembling, my heart shuddering with panic.

Not a day passes where I don’t consider my decisions and question my sanity for making them. I gave up everything. Literally. I walked away from one life and stepped into another with barely the seed of a plan. I started from scratch. I knew that I wanted to be in Colorado, that I wanted to be a writer, and that I was ready to do whatever it took to make these things happen. But the monsters known as ‘Whatifs’ possess me constantly, trying to make me give up. What if I don’t make it and this is all wasted time? What if the sacrifices were for nothing? What if I’m being selfish, irresponsible, or just plain foolish? Many times I have turned, prepared to run before it was too late, just like those kids running to beat the streetlights home.

We all have lives outside of writing. Our best laid plans to get words written often get interrupted with the necessities of the real world. The last couple of months have reminded me that I don’t always get a say in how my days transpire. There are things I have to do and those don’t always coincide with the things I want to do. The less time I spend writing or living in the world known as my author platform, the more the ‘Whatifs’ creep out of the closet, the shadows, and the vents. The noise of the daytime becomes a roar in my ears, often unbearable. The face of reality stares back from the mirror and sends chills through every bone in my body.  But what really keeps me up at night is the thought of failing.

It’s a tough thing we do as writers. We dream, and we dream big. We walk through Barnes & Noble wondering if we’ll ever see our own name blaring off a dust cover. We expose our hearts and souls to the world in every word we write. While many will be donning masks for Halloween, we’ll be taking ours off as we sit at computers and face our demons. The publishing world is a dark, ever shifting forest. We see the eyes staring back from the shadows and don’t know if they want to invite us in or keep us out.

No matter what monsters come our way we must, at all costs, keep writing. We must face our fears, weather the storms, steady our nerves, and write. There will be hard times, but they’re part of the journey. Perhaps the most important part. I almost quit. But instead of running for safety and comfort, I turned off all the lights and waited for the sun to fall. When darkness bathed my world I stepped outside, into my sanctuary, and looked for the moon. I looked toward the edge of the shadows to see if glowing eyes stared back. The air was cold, crisp, and I took a deep breath and relaxed. I went back inside and, as I looked in the mirror, I peeled off my mask. For the first time in months, I didn’t see a monster staring back. I saw a wounded soul; wounded but bleeding words. I saw… a writer.   

When he's not working with the dedicated and passionate people of Pikes Peak Writers, Jason P. Henry is lost in a world of serial killers, psychopaths, and other unsavory folks. Ask him what he is thinking, but only at your own risk. More often than not he is plotting a murder, considering the next victim, or twisting seemingly innocent things into dark and demented ideas. A Suspense, Thriller and Horror writer with a dark, twisted sense of humor, Jason strives to make people squirm, cringe, and laugh. He loves to offer a smile, but is quick to leave you wondering what lies behind it. Jason P. Henry is best summed up by the great philosopher Eminem “I'm friends with the monsters beside of my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head.” Learn more about Jason at JasonPHenry.com


6 comments :

  1. Lovely, poignant essay. I enjoyed the unmasking of a writer. Sometimes we are so afraid to step out there, aren't we. (not a question) :-)

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  2. I'm not sure you can be an interesting writer without personal demons. Overcoming them is the challenge that fuels us.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, Diana.Though sometimes it would be nice if those demons took a vacation. Lol

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  3. We all carry scars, don't we? Sometimes I feel like one of those kickboxers who keep getting hurt but keep going back for more.

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  4. It's the adversities and challenges in life that give our characters interest and make them appeal to our readers. How can we write about that which we do not know, have never felt, and have not come through scarred but stronger?

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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