“A vow is a purely religious act which cannot be taken in a fit of passion. It can be taken only with a mind purified and composed and with God as witness.”
The picture you see, is what Oliver Wetter (Fantasio Fine Arts) calls ‘work in progress’ and what I see as no less than the exact rendering of my first, and greatest, love. (update 4/30: this has now been replaced with the final wallpaper)
I opened an email from him earlier, in which he asked for my final ‘okay’ before beginning work on the details. And here I sit several hours later, still staring at it like a teenage girl in love. And this might seem like the tritest blog post in the world, but give me a moment here: This is what being an author is all about.
This is the face I’ve seen in my dreams for nearly 14 years. This is the face that I saw when I wrote chapter one, while using a piano bench as a desk, my freshman year in High School. This is the face that was behind every rejection letter, every critique, with me every single night I went to sleep feeling, with no scant portion of conviction, that I would never be published. And here he is, in the flesh, every emotion captured perfectly; his sorrow evident in the lines of his eyes; his passion and conviction present in the set of his jaw; his power apparent in the strength of his stance and intensity of his gaze.
This face…this image that never left me…is why I persisted when it all seemed like a dead-end dream, when my hopes felt like nothing more than just that. When the whole world told me that it wasn’t and would never be…I saw Garren in my heart and said, “But it is…just wait and see.”
A time will come in every writer’s life, where a vow must be made. This is no small thing. This is something that should be done in the quiet of your heart, below your pride and selfishness and the rough edges of your human nature. Beyond the acknowledgment of your identity as an author, past the raw and war worn edges of adolescence, this vow is not to yourself, or the public at large, but to that which you create. Consider it, if you will, a true and holy marriage between your soul and its intended place in this world. If this is the path that is meant for you, nothing else will do. Nothing. And just like in marriage, you have to rest all of your hopes on it with only the purest faith, or you will fail it. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Through writer’s blocks and rejections. In anonymity and infamy. There are no promises. There are no assurances. No one will give you a reliable ‘guide’ on how to succeed at this, because the relationship between you and your craft is as unique as that of two lovers.
My good friend Ien said it best, “A novel ought to be written with all the incipient madness, the inchoate passion of a love letter riddled with rash, extravagant promises, blushing with hyperbole, rough in its intimacies and raw to the point of tenderness.”
To see a lover for the first time, face to face, whom you’ve known only through the painfully distant affection of love letters for well over half of your life, is beyond words. To introduce that lover to everyone who told you, all those years, that you would never meet (or worse, that they didn’t exist) is perhaps beyond expression.