Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

It has been a little over a year now since I made the decision to pursue my dream of becoming a professional writer, and things seem to be moving along. I feel I am currently sitting on a unique original idea which could very well be the ticket in helping me realize my dream. In the research I have done I have been unable to find one book which utilizes the style I do. This is not to say they are not out there, but the only thing I have found which is similar is the Dr. Seuss books. I believe this concept and series has real marketability to it. When I compare my finished work to some others that are currently on the market it is clear what I have been able to put together is a superior product.

This is all fantastic and it makes me so excited to know I am this close to realizing my dream. It feels like it is right in front of me just waiting to be snatched up, but for some reason I am afraid to reach out and grab it. Why can’t I take that final step to complete everything? I think what it comes down to is my fear of failure. I have failed at everything I have tried to accomplish in my life, and the thought of failing at this is terrifying. I feel like this is my last shot at accomplishing the last dream I have left. If I fail than what do I have left to cling to in hopes of becoming more than I currently am?

I originally thought I would realize my dream through writing poetry. I thought this right up until I realized there is no future in this type of writing. I was a bit disappointed to learn all this since I had just written a poetry book with no future projects in mind. I really wasn’t sure where to go from here since all I really knew how to do was expressing myself through what I called poetry. I have no writing training to speak of, and my grammar skills are at a fourth grade level. I thought for sure I was dead in the water.

I currently have one book “Trapped Within My Illness” which is currently under review by “Graywolf Press.” I feel this poetry collection is better than the three I had previously written, but I am not expecting much to come of this. I have all but stopped looking for publishers to review my work, but if I come across one I will for sure submit my manuscripts to them. I love doing this so I will continue to write poetry and self-publish my work in hopes of once I start doing readings people may be interested in owning something I have written. If not I really won’t be disappointed, because I love the emotional release writing poetry brings to me.

Once I realized there was no career in writing poetry I was kind of at a loss for what to do next. I know when I first started this blog I had dreams of one day having fifty-thousand visitors a week, and that I would be making enough money to live off of with just the advertising alone. I again had to face the realization that this blog will more than likely never receive fifty-thousand visitors a year let alone a week. I was a bit saddened by this at first, because I love doing this blog so much and it would have been great to become a career blogger. Knowing this to be true has caused a bit of a conundrum. I am afraid because I love doing this so much that it is taking my creative time and energy away from other projects. I battle back and forth contemplating if I should slow down and take a step back in order to work on other projects. I think I would have a hard time giving this up though.

Since I started this dream I have come up with many different book ideas. There were some I thought were great then after further consideration I decided to scrap them. Then there were other ideas I still think are great and they would be a blast to work on. These ideas are just sitting there with no work being done towards completing them. The problem with these ideas is they are all more than likely to take me a year or three to complete. Considering my personality I am unsure of my ability to write something so lengthy. I also do not have enough confidence in the ideas themselves to spend three years on something which may or may not ever become a reality.

It was in one of my ideas though that I feel I have found my talent and voice in such a unique way that this idea may be the one which helps me realize my dream of becoming a professional writer; my “Dylan Thomas” series. I have already written two installments in the series, and I have another two hundred or so ideas just waiting to be put to paper. This series is based and written around my youngest son Dylan. In the manuscripts I have finished thus far I have been able to include my other kids in the story as well. This makes working on them so personal and enjoyable. These are picture books which are written entirely in rhyming format. This format and the way I present them are currently to my knowledge not being done. I was really surprised when I wrote the first one just how well the story flowed. When I finished the first and second book it honestly felt like magic. I had never written something I have actually been proud of, until I wrote these two books. I hired an illustrator and thus “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage” was self-published. I have received nothing but positive feedback from the book, and everyone who read the next installment “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs” have said that this version is far better than the first. I figured I was all ready to start submitting these books to literary agents.

Nicole looked into what all goes into trying to find a children’s literary agent and what she discovered was that it is best to have multiple stories to submit to them so they can see that your idea is not just a one and done deal. It was decided that the best course of actions was to write a few more manuscripts to include with the query letter we planned on sending to agents. I have known about this for around two months, yet I have not spent a minute working on it. There may have been times I got prepped to start on a title, but I ended up working on something different. I have been just floored for why I have not been more proactive on finishing these projects. My most recent hurdle was creating an outline for each story, and day after day it went un-worked on. Well last week I got a rush of creativity and finished completed outlines for four additional stories. I have yet to take the next step to begin completing them.

I wonder what the hold-up is. I make the time to work on my poetry and blog posts, but I have been avoiding actually working on the one thing which will further the possibility of realizing my dream. I then realized perhaps I am putting this off because once I finish these and start sending them off to agents, and I don’t get picked-up then I may be faced with the stark reality that my stuff may not be good enough. I think if I was faced with such a reality I would be utterly devastated since these children’s books seem to be where my talent is at.

I need to make the time and take a courageous leap of faith and finish these next few manuscripts. I need to get them out to agents to see if there is any reality in my dream. I would rather know now in year two or three that the possibility of my dream coming true is close to zero. I would rather know now then spend another five years chasing something that is a long shot. Right now I have a quality, original and well written children’s books which can be turned into an ongoing series aimed at children ranging in age from 1 to 11. If this doesn’t get picked up I am honestly not sure I am able to top this complete idea.

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Lately when I close my eyes I have been seeing the same thing over and over again? The vision and the nightmares which follow always remains the same. When I close my eyes it starts out with blackness with vague splashes of white light. Soon the flashes of light disappear and there is nothing except the dark. I walk endlessly in this darkness making out formless shadows, until I see a flicker of light in the farthest of backgrounds. I walk towards this light until I can just make out the vision of a chair and a television. I cannot see what is on the television but I can see the faint splashes of color. I walk towards this chair and television, but somehow it seems like I am not even moving. The image seems to stay at the exact distance no matter how far I travel. Eventually I tire of the journey and fall asleep.

Over the last few weeks I have been having the most horrendous nightmares night after night. The nightmares are always different but share two common themes. The first theme is I die in every one of them. Prior to this most recent rash of dreams I always believed it was impossible to die in a dream, but I now know this to not be the case. The way I die is different from dream to dream, but the feeling and sensation I experience are exactly the same. Once I die I experience nothingness, just pitch black then a terrifying void of nonexistence. I immediately wake up in a panic with my body dripping with sweat.

The other common theme is the man who is in my dreams. I feel I should give a brief history of this man since he has been with me since I was ten. I was in the fifth grade and living with my grandma at the time when one night I had the most frightening dream. I remember this night and the subsequent events which followed me like it was just yesterday. The brief synopsis of the dream went like this.

We just moved into this new house and while we were given the tour by the realtor we came across this metal door with six locks. Along with these six locks were an additional six pad locks. We asked the man if he had the keys to this door. He chuckled and said “no but there is nothing in there and we had no need to not go in there.” I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. As I was walking down the hall I crossed the door and all locks were undone and the door was slightly opened. I had this sense of fear with a sense of curiosity. I opened the door and entered the room. What I saw next is burned into my mind. The room was empty and cold. The walls were covered in blood with designs and various different phrases. In the center of the room there was a man sitting in a chair with his back turned to me. The man was rocking back and forth, and mumbling words I couldn’t understand. I could see his hair it was long, black and greasy. All of a sudden with a blink of an eye the chair turns around and this man is staring at me with his cold black eyes. He gets out of his chair and runs towards me grabbing me by my shoulders and says “dead is better.” I awoke immediately and as I turned to look at the door I could see the man standing there saying “dead is better.”

I was in such intense fear I went straight away to wake my grandma up. I remember that entire morning I was shivering and I wouldn’t leave my grandma’s side. The following nights I was afraid to fall asleep in fear of having a reoccurring dream about this man. Since that night I have had nightmares about this man. He is the personification of evil. There have even been times I have thought I have seen or heard him during the day. I remember this one time I thought I saw him during class. I remember freaking out because I thought I saw him outside. I was so afraid I made an embarrassing scene in class. It has been years since I have dreamt about this man; now I dream about him every night, and when I awake I can still hear him speaking to me.

Even though I know very little about it; I just can’t help but love poetry. I love the way I am able to express my inner most emotions and capture them on paper. I am not educated on what the various forms of poetry are; I just write. When I was younger I would write a few then toss them aside, but I would share them with very few people. I would get words stuck in my head, these words were so intense and jumbled I would have to grab a piece of paper and just write them down. I never kept anything that I wrote, but I wish I would have. I also used to write short stories, but sadly those were tossed as well. In college I would get stoned out of my mind and write some kick ass papers. I some how managed to get A’s on 95% of them. I really wish I would have kept them, especially my papers which basically got me kicked out of a Crown College (A private Christian school.) I only just started keeping my writings, and thanks to the wonderful internet I am able to share them with whoever stops by.

I was first turned onto poetry when I read the book “Where The Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.  I loved everything about this book. The way it flowed and captured my imagination was fantastic. I vowed in my young dreamer way that someday I would write poetry that would appear in a book. My other inspiration which enthralled me was the Dr. Seuss books. His books seemed so magical. I wanted to write stories that emulated that certain flow which made his books so great (I sort of modeled my children’s books off his style.) I was later influenced by Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Jim Morrison, and Edgar Allan Poe  to only name a few. These inspirations made me want to be a writer. This was always a dream I have had, but never thought anything would ever come of it. It was one of those things you store deep inside. The only time it is mentioned is in a “wouldn’t that be great” conversation.

As I grew up I still held onto this dream of becoming a writer, but focused very little on honing my craft. I cannot remember the last grade I was in where I was really present and trying. I was a space case who cared little about school; because of this I learned very little about grammar and sentence structure which still stunts me to this day. I remember in fifth grade I wrote a short story about something or other. I handed it in and I remember the teacher making a comment about how someday I would become a writer. I do not remember this teacher’s name, but her words have been the words that have always kept the fire burning inside of me. I bet you she probably doesn’t even remember making that comment; yet I carried her words with me for twenty years, and it has given me hope.

So now here I am. My first book was published by a shady publishing house so I consider that work gone, and I do not consider this as an accomplishment because technically my book wasn’t really published. I self published my next two poetry books which is great but it is not the same feeling as having an agent tell you one of the larger publishing houses has agreed to publish your work. Poetry is a dead art form and there is not much demand for it these days. I think most current poets don’t even bother trying to publish their work; they are just content with it being on their blog, or on one of the many poetry websites. Seeing your work on a computer screen is nothing like seeing your book in print.

I haven’t been able to write any kind of poetry since I published those last two books I think that was back in September. I went through a similar drought after my first book got published. I think what happens is it is emotionally draining process. I tap into the sap of my soul and pour out the love and pain in my life. When I start writing I just can’t stop it is like one right after the other it is truly a magical experience. The problem is I just don’t know how good my stuff is. I have received a handful of reviews located on my website http://thephilosophyofme.com/book-reviews.html. One of my favorite reviews which aren’t located on my website is from Simone at http://spontaneousoverflow.com/wordpress/?p=1751, Even though this review does not necessarily paint my writing in the most positive light; I still seem to like it. I would love to take several writing courses at schools to hone my skills. I think my mind is a perfect tool it is just dull at the moment.    

I wish I lived during the time when poetry was considered an art, and heralded by the people. I have been doing research and literary agents will not represent poets, there is just no market for it. This sucks because I am currently working on three other poetry books, but I am getting to the point where I say to myself why even bother putting in the time for something that will never be read? The question I have is should I continue to work on my poetry projects or just focus on something different? I am really excited about my Tao Te Ching poetry book. I think this one will be my best yet, but should I even take the time? I really think the only way I am going to find readers is through doing live readings; which I hope to do my first few in January. I figure this will be the test to really gage if my work is any good. My goal is to get a local following, and one day become the main headliner, if I am able to do this then I can take some satisfaction that my work has not fallen on deaf ears.

“I hate writing”

Al Alvarez

Al Alvarez is a poet, writer of non-fiction books, and critic. He has published or been a contributor to nineteen books. He became a fulltime writer in his late twenties, during this time he was a poetry editor and critic for The Observer where he introduced the world to Sylvia Plath (one of my favorite poets) among others. Prior to becoming a fulltime author Alvarez taught at Oxford and in the United States. Alvarez was also an avid fan of poker writing two books based on the subject. 

This quote bothers me a bit. I cannot imagine someone who has realized their dreams, and achieved what many of us out there only hope to achieve. How can he hate what he does? My ultimate dream in life is to achieve what Alvarez has. I wonder if I ever do; will I feel the same way as he does. If you write for a living, over time does it just become “what you do?” I know there has been about three days where the thought of writing a post seemed like an annoying and daunting task, but as soon as I pull a subject out of my racing mind I enjoy what I am doing. How can Alvarez not be happy with achieving what many do not? Was this quote taken out of context and he was just joking?

I wrote a post a few months back “Can’t Take The Ghetto Out Of The Man.” I asked the question how come professional athletes just can’t stay out of trouble. I do not understand how white and black athletes cannot see what is right in front of them. They are the rare and select few who can say they are living their dream. I wonder if these select few would make the same comment and hate being a professional athlete. Many of these athletes have dedicated their entire lives to reach this pinnacle. How could they possible get bored with it?

Maybe I cannot comprehend this statement because I have yet to achieve my dream. Most nights I dedicate myself fulltime writing and pursuing this goal. I do this at the expense of those around me, yet I feel it is a necessity because something like this takes dedication not just a “oh I will do this once I have time” type of attitude. I want this so bad, and the time I spend on it shows. I would do anything to be able to sit at my computer during the day and write book after book. I do not think I would ever get sick of it because it is my passion. Just the thought of it now sends shivers down my spine. I can honestly say this is a comment I would never utter.

I am fully aware I only have a 1% chance of my dream coming true, but it is this 1% which drives me everyday. I do not think I am a very good blogger, but I do feel like I am a good poet. I also feel like I have a good thing going with the “Dylan Thomas” series. The style of this book is unique to other stuff out there. This could prove to be a good niche in the market; which may help me get noticed. My fear is my stuff really sucks, but no one has the heart to crush my dreams. I am worried I will get out there and do readings only to end up making a fool out of myself like those people on American Idol.

I am giving myself 5-10 years to achieve this. If I have not then I am going to just give up.  I am worried about the crash I will feel once I realize I have wasted so much of my

People throughout the world have dreams and aspirations of becoming this or achieving that, unfortunately some realize their dreams and others do not. Many of us get sucked into the day to day demands and our dreams get put aside; filing it away for a later date. My dream has always been to become a published full-time writer. Prior to a month ago I found myself shelving this dream under the “This will never happen so why bother” file.

Starting a family at such a young age caused me to focus on making money to pay the bills, and my daily activities involved making sure we could do just that. My focus to the best of my ability was focused on my family. I honestly never thought I would amount too much except being a father and husband, nor did I think any of my personal dreams would come to fruition. I have always loved writing, prior to heading down this path I would write small poems on a scratch paper and toss them in the garbage. I always thought poetry was an extinct art and would lead me nowhere. Little did I know the events that started as my downward spiral resulting in a suicide note to my family would become a published book. The confidence of my book being published gave me the confidence to start this blog. I am now working on other projects to further my writing career.

I am in the first year of my 15 year plan, and to be honest with you I did not expect anything to happen with my book, and I expected nothing to happen with this blog. I have such low self-esteem of myself and this low self-esteem makes me think I will fail in everything I set out to do. In my perceived failing; my 15 year plan would become yet another disappointment in a long line of failures. To my surprise things are working out a little differently.

I did my first newspaper interview about my book, with my local paper. I was so nervous leading up to this. While I was doing the interview it all felt so surreal. I could not understand why anyone would be interested in anything I do or have done. When it was all finished I had a strange sense of accomplishment. I was able to open up my book of goals and check something off. It was such a glorious experience.

I have this strange feeling, something I am not used to. I have this feeling of joy, and a very strange sense. The exact feeling escapes me, and I am having trouble identifying it… The feeling is pride, I can not remember the last time I was proud of myself. It is a great feeling, and a feeling I hope to build on.

**Since this publication in February 2010 I have published my first children’s book “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage,” with another one due out in early 2011. I have also finished my next two poetry books “Yin” and “Yang.” These titles will be available in October or November 2010. I have done two additional interviews, and soon I will start doing readings at local coffee shops. I also started “The Bucket List Foundation.” It amazes me how things have been working out. I am still not a full-time writer, but I would have to say I am on my way.**