Deep inside us all is a spark. Barely an ember, it simmers inside of us during our formative years. Like so many child protégés, some people are gifted early in recognizing the direction of their lives early. Others take longer to discover the passion that will ignite their candle.
Listening to interviews, I am always impressed with successful people who discovered their avocation early in life. For the rest of us, we flirt with side adventures, society’s expectation of our role in life. Women, driven by a biological urge to reproduce, may spend years distracted from their true inner passion with back stories by a natural need to be loved and loving. While men are given a clear road map, with identifiable touchstones to chart their course in the business world.
No one respects the child who claims she/he wants to be an artist or a poet. Few people are encouraged to explore their desire to express themselves through oils on canvass or keystrokes on a screen. At best, the interest is smiled upon as a hobby. In its saddest state, it is punished, discouraged and considered a waste of time.
It is no wonder that many people defer their ‘hobby’ until later in life when the more respected and earthly responsibilities are over. I am always amazed at the old farts, which are noticed driving Corvettes down the road. I used to think they looked ridiculous, often wearing aviator sun glasses, racing gloves and other accessories that seem to complete the final realization of being able to revisit an early dream, but, not any more. I now understand that these people had to wait a lifetime to allow themselves the luxury of chasing their dream.
I’ve followed several authors from prologue to epilogue in writing a novel. There is one common thread that weaves them together, although each story was uniquely different. Their families were amused at the writing. Some were mildly tolerant and allowed the ‘author’ to read or share their work with them.
Universally they would give the writer a pat on the head and go back to their own stories, gossip or chatter. Their friend, spouse or loved one will always remain in their minds eye a janitor, a nurse or a teacher--but an author—they hardly think so.
For the writer, a painful awareness begins to creep in as the candle ignites. This time—this one-- is for me. Often after many years of being lost in responsibilities and smothered by expectation, the writer begins to do it for himself. That is when the candle touches kindling and a bonfire ignites.
copyright 2013 by Ingrid Thomson
ESSAYS BY INGRID THOMSON