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Creative Nonfiction Inspirational Contemporary

“Those bastards and bitches are so delusional they would ride their horse out of town hitched to the latest TikTok snake oil salesman's circus wagon.”

I am already sick of all the glad-handing pukes on Facebook congratulating me for what I haven't even accomplished yet. What? Vomiting a bunch of words onto a page and breaking my arm patting myself on the back? I'm garbage, it's garbage. When I hand a friend a chapter of my manuscript, edited and printed with over-priced ink, they give me a bored look and eye roll pretending to read for a few minutes before digging their vape device out of a dusty pocket and smirking at the screen in their hand.

I'm glad my cat can't read. His ignoring me is genuine. At least his green eyes are honest. The significant other read the WHOLE thing, a chapter I mean, and gave me a MEH. I'm past the idiots on blogs hinging their financial hopes on penning the next great novel.

Why not buy a lottery ticket, and after you don't get a single digit, walk down the street asking people for money. You could charge a dollar note per joke and possibly buy a coffee before you jump the stile at the subway and crawl back to your overpriced apartment and try to sleep it off.

I poured my soul into the story for a few years, agonized over word choices and plot lines until my coffee was cold and my brain wore out. It's just not good enough. I'm not good enough. I'm an antique engine in a Formula 1 race, a dinosaur fighting charged-up fresh mammals with fur and claws. The youth is plugged into the entirety of human knowledge while I hack at a stone tablet with a bronze chisel.

I've accepted it though. My mind drivel will occupy the dust-covered shelves of some resale shop that is hanging by a thread to the status of a tax shelter and the occasional grant to keep the doors open. I guess I should be happy that at least the words will be free and not still trapped in my mind driving me insane.

Wait a minute. What about that geezer that thumbs up every story I put on social media. Didn't he say something to the effect of, “Whatever you do keep writing, you've got talent, don't give up.” It's like the twinkle of a star in a galaxy. What if what I wrote just deeply affects one human being on the planet? Is that enough to keep going? Is that a victory or just a sad reminder of how inconsequential what I've written is? Are there silent majorities of others, afraid to give compliments or encouragement? What does it take to get approval? 10, 100, 1 million? It is common knowledge that most books, even ones poured over by countless editors only sell a few thousand copies. But, what if a writer can move a few souls, and deepen their connection to themselves and the world? What if those words connect on a visceral level and change a person's life, or put a young one back on a good path and help heal their suffering? Is it still worth it?

I don't think so. We all need to be allowed to suffer. Long-suffering toughens our bones and scales, allowing us to survive the next fight. Why should I short-circuit the process and give you keys before you are truly ready? Maybe we all need to be wounded and bleed and be thrown into the crucible of love, death, and birth. These thoughts lead me to my realization.

I will keep my book to myself, locked onto a hard drive and my mind. I'm so, so tired of reading posts about how someone finished their book. The flood of atta-boys is a disgusting reminder of where our sick, introverted, narcissistic culture lies. “You did it!”, “Congratulations!”, “Great 100%”, etc. Really?!?! I'm pretty sure with AI, corrective software like Grammarly, and any number of people that will help you online, almost any swinging ding-dong or gaping hole could pen a novel at this juncture in history.

In retrospect, finishing the first draft of a book is an accomplishment. Yet, we all need to realize anyone can bloviate until we are all red in the face about 'Name your topic', but does it really matter if your reader is bored after two chapters, or offended before the end of the first. I have accepted that no matter how long I've spent on my full-length, Manuscript, WIP (Work in Progress) it doesn't mean that it is good or worthy of publication.

So, I've slowed down the process. I'm not sure how slow is slow enough, but I am down to a crawl now. Modern humans have options. There is vicious competition for eyeballs. And maybe we need to expound on the issue of competition. There are probably millions of competent writers on the planet. That seems like real competition. One doesn't need a degree from Oxford or Harvard to succeed. With the digital tools freely and readily available it seems one doesn't even need a college degree now.

One does need a story. If a writer has been safely tucked under the wealth of a prominent family or in the confines of comfort can they really grow and connect with a reader who has suffered and born the wickedness of the world? Sufferers can sniff out a fake. No matter how perfect, one can't catch a snowflake without crushing its singular nature.

I will keep the words of my story within myself. The death of the world will not be enough to move me. Whether the planet dies or thrives matters not. Words will wither and pass on, our species will disappear and leave a clay footprint of what we were. Nothing will survive but crippled fractures of our art, a few bones, and some metal. Bone and wood will decay away, desiccated like our eye sockets and umbilical cords. Which is why I will hold onto my words into death. Why bother letting them go now?





December 25, 2023 00:22

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19 comments

10:10 Dec 25, 2023

Very relatable. Too relatable! Even if we keep them to ourselves at least they are something to be proud of. Our art. Do we need people to praise it for it to be valid? Nope. The stories are our creations and they will never leave us . Happy Christmas:)

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Helen A Smith
09:58 Jan 01, 2024

If it means anything at all in this crazy world, I got a buzz from reading this Kevin. Apart from the fact I could identify with every line, it made me feel something. I guess if just one person connects, it makes a difference. Sometimes words alter the course of someone’s life, inspiring them to take a different turn. It makes it worth while, though naturally as writers we want a larger audience and recognition. To say otherwise, is false. (There may be a rare few saints who don’t feel like this, but I’m not one of them). Either way, it’s...

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Kevin Marlow
17:22 Jan 01, 2024

It makes me happy when what I write connects with people. Writing can be such a lonely pursuit. Thank you, Helen!

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Jack Kimball
02:43 Jan 01, 2024

Hey Kevin, Whatever you do keep writing, you've got talent, don't give up. Only kidding! Actually I believe recognition is great and money fine (as highly unlikely as either are), but there is only one reason words keep falling to the page. The writer just can’t stop themself.

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Kevin Marlow
03:30 Jan 01, 2024

Great point. An artist creates because they cannot not create. I write and create to satisfy a need within myself. If one is creating to achieve fame and fortune they will most likely be disappointed.

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Daniel Rogers
02:03 Jun 07, 2024

I can relate. Is my writing good enough? After reading your story, I'm going to stop asking. We are writers. It's clear to me. Look how much we have in common. Tortured souls. Dreaming of writing the next great novel. Boring our friends and family. Convincing ourselves we're significant if only one reader benefits. Envious of writers who get noticed - published, win contest, etc. Believing I'm not enough. The encouraging point to take from this is we are all writers. The fact we have these in common proves it. Thank you for sharing this sto...

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Kevin Marlow
03:20 Jun 07, 2024

We must share our work. If we get an atta-boy or encouragement count it as bonus points.

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Daniel Rogers
19:32 Jun 07, 2024

Well said

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Sue Bozkus
19:43 Jan 04, 2024

Loved your intro hahaha :D What came to my mind was the quote by Oscar Wilde "Nowadays people know the price of everything but the value of nothing."

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Kevin Marlow
05:59 Jan 05, 2024

Thanks for that. That was the best sentence out of my first draft. Write On!

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Belladona Vulpa
18:25 Jan 04, 2024

It's the first story I opened to read after many days. It did not disappoint, the voice and contents flowed seamlessly. It made sense in a way. It was pleasant to read and made us take a step back and contemplate about the meaning we give to things. Nicely done!

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Kevin Marlow
05:57 Jan 05, 2024

Thank You Bella!

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Michelle Oliver
04:03 Jan 04, 2024

There is vicious competition for eyeballs. I love that line. De-humanising the reader to a specific body part only. This story is creative non-fiction for so many of us. You’ve taken the words right out of our mouths! But hey… keep writing! You’ve got something to say.

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Kevin Marlow
04:34 Jan 04, 2024

I always like it when a line connects with someone. Thank you Michelle for the encouragement!

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John Rutherford
20:42 Feb 01, 2024

It's a question that only you can answer. What is inside is there, is there in terms of creativity. It's better to wonder at it, while it lasts.

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Kevin Marlow
01:10 Feb 02, 2024

I have worked too hard on my full-length book to not publish at some point, yet the deeper I get into the process, it seems such a small percentage of books reaches a wide audience. I wanted to write a skeptical why or why not contemplation on the issue. It seemed to connect. Thanks for reading.

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John Rutherford
06:05 Feb 02, 2024

I do believe this is a dilemma of all creative artists, no matter what art form.

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Jessie Laverton
12:10 Jan 03, 2024

Do keep writing though, like the geezer said! I felt every word of this. Very relatable. The right place to share it too, probably. Thanks.

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