Like everything I have ever done, my first novel is a freak of nature. Sitting at home, depressed that no employer seemed to see value in me, I decided to figure out how I got to this place in time. Hoping it would generate answers and clear the path to my future, I began writing about my life, beginning at birth and pulling out old memories I had completely mothballed. I wrote like a madman, creating a document 70,000 words long and quit before I entered the rough spot I was in. Little did I know that writing it was a tune-up, but I still saw no clear path out of my predicament.
Music heals the soul and I am a huge Greg Brown fan as you will see when you read my book. I’ve been part of an online fan group for years and befriended many over the years and met lots in person at concerts. Greg has no idea how vast and varied the community he has created from his art. I met my dear friend, Jan, there through our common interest in Greg’s music and we became online buddies. One day, she told me she had been invited to study a book written by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way and wasn’t sure she should do it. I had bought this very book a year before at the recommendation of another pure soul I had met through my association of Mr. Brown’s music. I had read the first chapter and set it down when I got a temporary job working for the Census Bureau. I told Jan how jealous I was that she was invited to study the book and that she just had to do it. She took that advice. What she didn’t listen to was my request not to weasel me into the group. The ten women members took an informal vote and by the smallest of margins, I was invited to join. Okay, I don’t really know how the vote went, but I’m certain there were trepidations about letting a guy in the group.
I had never met any of them and I had concerns too. The leader of the group knew I existed because I had commented a few times on her blog. Other than that, I had no idea who these women were. Having never been in an online study group, let alone being the sole male, I followed their lead and introduced myself. All accomplished artists, I realized right away I was out of my league. They were in various stages of their artistic endeavors and careers. I had dabbled with water color and calligraphy, but knew my art was best served stringing words together, mostly in rhyme. We began to study the book which encouraged us to let our inner artistic child play. The tribe, as we call ourselves, began to share their visual art efforts, so I got brave and comfortable enough to expose a short story I wrote. It got mixed reviews, but all constructive. Their encouragement led me to share another story I had written a year and a half earlier. The gates opened. Curious to know more about the characters, the tribe insisted I write more. My inner child frolicked and my second chapter was written. Synchronicity, fate, a freak of nature, The Universe aligned. I was on my way to birthing a book.