"I think novelists come in two types, and that includes the sort of fledgling novelist I was by 1970. Those who are bound for the more literary or 'serious' side of the job examine every possible subject in the light of the question: What would writing this sort of story mean to me? Those whose destiny (or ka, if you like) is to include the writing of popular novels are apt to ask a very different one: What would writing this sort of story mean to others? The 'serious' novelist is looking for answers and keys to the self; the 'popular' novelist is looking for an audience. Both kinds of writer are equally selfish."
Thanks for reading Observations. It's been a journey writing it. I'll say up front that I will not be writing a sequel, nor am I certain that I'll be writing more fanfiction in the future. Some of you have asked if I'm a professional writer. I'm not. This is actually the second full length fictional piece I've ever written to completion. It was started, continued, and finished for very specific and personal reasons. Now it's done. I've said what's needed to be said—the remainder of what I need to say is in this endnote.
Whatever you thought of this piece, however you chose to read it, whether or not it provoked you—I hope that some part of it resonated with you. Each person, as we go through the motions, gathers experiences. Our experiences aren't always comparable, and so much of the time I find that words fall short of what we want to say and share. But if you found something compelling in a few words, a sentence, of this piece, then I've succeeded. Because even though this is fanfiction, even though these aren't my characters and none of this is real, I wanted to write something true. I wanted to write something real.
In many ways, Observations is a synthesis of everything I've learned up to this point. Someday, I hope I'll look back and see a change, growth from who I am now. Throughout the piece, I tried to strike a balance. I wanted both laughter and sorrow, anger and happiness. Good and evil. Hope and despair. Logic and emotion. Fear, courage, gain, loss, all of those dichotomies. I am not entirely sure I succeeded, but I tried. Because up to this point in my life, as far as I've observed and experienced, it seems that's how things go. Everything comes with a cost—or conversely, everything comes with a reward. It depends on how you see things, and where you're looking from.
I tried to strike a balance because that's how I see reality, and as a writer, I strive for realism. But I'm not above bending the rules, or breaking them. Because I can. Because this is my realm, these are my words, this is my creation and what I say is law here. I cannot say the same for reality, which is unwieldy and seldom cooperates with me or anyone I know. We deal with reality, not the other way around.
Sometimes I smash reality. It's my way of getting even. My real life, like the real lives of all people, has something to be desired. I have a lot to be thankful for—when I sit down and think of how lucky I've been, I'm amazed. I've also experienced bullshit that I hope no one will ever be subjected to again, even though I know they will. People are people. Reality is reality. Sometimes that knowledge makes me shake.
I've paid a price. Several times, over and over. Almost like paying off the mortgage. There're times when I wonder if that's the cost of this gift, this ability I have to make you laugh, cry, feel and think, see. Sometimes I wish—but why regret? What's done is done.
I am a writer and though I strive for realism, I wrote a happy ending. Why? Because I can. Because I know what it's like to have a miserable ending, an ending without resolution, a dull thud and silence. We all do. I wrote a happy ending because I wanted the characters to have happiness. It sounds so trite, doesn't it? But real happiness I find is a rare thing. They had to work for it, they had to pay for it, they had to earn it with blood and sweat and tears—but it only served to make the bonds between them stronger. They have happiness because life is better that way, and it gives hope.
Perhaps that's what it comes down to. Hope. I write about hope. I write about the hope for acceptance in the midst of isolation. Love in a desert. Freedom in darkness. The struggle for life when you can't find a single reason to keep going. The courage to persevere, not only to survive, but to thrive. Maybe in your opinion my writing isn't realistic at all, if hope is what I write about. Measly, paltry, skinny little thing. But it means the world to me. Laughter, the ability to smile, mean the world to me.
Because there have been points in time when I have had no hope, no escape, no freedom. There was a time when the only thing I could do was live day to day, dreaming, wondering if I could have a future. Somewhere in that time—I don't know when, but the important thing is that it happened at all—somewhere in that time I swore to myself that I could ever know happiness, if I ever got to the stage where I could write freely, that is what I would write about: the things worth living for. The things worth fighting for.
So I hope some part of Observations resonated with you, however you chose to read it—whether as a great adventure story or something more. To the reader who finds him/herself facing terror and the masks of people, please—keep fighting, keep hoping, and wait for tomorrow (heart beats to remember heart beats to remain).
To everyone else, thanks for reading. It cost me more than words can say to write this, but I'm glad I did. I've said what I needed to say, and now I can move on. This is complete.
May you have peace and long life.
Or as Spock would say—
Live long and prosper.