Survivor's Guilt

 From the 11/3/23 newsletter:

When people ask me why I write, I usually just say that I enjoy telling stories and that I'm enamored of the creative process in general. It's not untrue. But some of my indie writing mentors have been encouraging me to dig a little deeper--no, a lot deeper. They insist on it as a marketing necessity, that a good author brand can only come from such a searching of the soul--that I must find my true author "why" before I can connect with my readers.

I'm hiding an eyeroll behind my pen here. But the folks that are pushing me to do this--well, they have some credibility with successful writing careers under their belts. So, I've overcome my natural resistance to digging into my psyche--it can get kind of scary in there--and I've uncovered what I can only describe as Survivor's Guilt.

By all rights, I shouldn't be here. I had childhood illnesses that would have taken me from this world had I been born a few decades earlier. In high school, I was dropped off at home five minutes before the driver was involved in a devastating accident that took the lives of two other passengers. I'm a cancer survivor. Even more miraculous is my long-term recovery from decades of drug addiction, a very dark place that takes the lives of most people by way of the drugs themselves or the accompanying lifestyle.

And here I am, while so many more deserving of the wonderful life I live have been denied theirs along the way.  It's not fair, and I continuously ask myself the question, why me? I've meditated on the idea I may have been preserved for some higher purpose, yet all the evidence around me suggests my primary reason for living is nothing more than to learn and grow--like everybody else.

But I think when I put something out there that allows a reader to escape into an adventure for a period of time--forget about their day-to-day worries for a bit, and maybe even laugh at themselves a little--well, it kind of justifies my existence.

And I don't feel quite so guilty.

Progress Notes:

This morning I crossed the 39k word mark on the first draft of A Verse for Witches, book one of my upcoming epic fantasy/sword and sorcery series, The Song of Tsing. Look for the entire 3-book epic to be launched in 2025.

That's all for now. Happy reading!

-Red Wolf John

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