Thursday, July 22, 2010

Seeking John Marco

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

I feel that quote with every fiber of my being, and yet, writing comes last. I know, I's suppose to be this overwhelming force that leaves me unable to eat, sleep or do anything else until I create. The need to record my story should supersede any and every desire that dares to distract me from the singular purpose of composing ...ummm...excuse me a moment.
Anna was hungry. Now, what was I saying? Oh, forget it. Writing comes last. It doesn't matter that in rare moments of still, the story calls to me, begging to be unfurled.
Just thinking about my fictional island brightens my soul with purpose. There are times when I find myself wanting to re-read chapters that I haven't even written yet. My characters are friends that I long to visit.

They will wait. They have waited this long already.

I guess that means that I'm not really a writer. Heck, I can't even seem to give a few lines to this blog as often as I would like.

What I am (beside mom,
home management connoisseur, cook/nutritionist, laundress, maid, finance director, transportation specialist, keeper of electronic gaming devices, homework motivator, psychologist, referee, teacher, judge, jurist, enforcer of law, mind reader, Anna chair, first aid dispenser...yeah, I know that everything after "mom" is redundant but it's my blog so I can yammer on if I wanna) is a reader.

Books are my escape, my sanctuary, my portal to new worlds. Stories feed me. Unfortunately life doesn't always leave me time for decent meals, so there are long spells when I have to make do with grazing. When I take the kids to a fast food place, I devour every silly word printed on their happy meal boxes/bags. Standing in line at the grocery store, I'll scan headline after headline on the magazines on display...until I literally feel my IQ falling and then I'll tear my eyes away from that and start reading the ingredient list on the items in my cart. And then there is the internet...or as I like to call it...paradise. From email to news articles to discussion boards to social networks to blogs, the internet is a never ending smorgasbord of awesomeness.

It was here on the world wide web that I was first introduced to Mr. John Marco - on Myspace to be exact. Any female with a Myspace account knows that there are three types of "friend requests" there.

First there is the "let's keep in touch here too" kind. Those are from people you know.
Next there is the "Musician" request. Those are from people who want you to hear how amazing they supposedly sound. Sometimes they are worth checking out. Sometimes you wish you hadn't bothered.
Then there is the "Girl collector" request. Those are from pigs posing as men. Luckily, they are pretty easy to spot.

The friend request from Mr. Marco didn’t quite fit into any of those categories. You see, he is an author. I had not read his books, nor had I even heard his name before that day, but suddenly I was intrigued. An author made a request to ME? I had to find out more. Wiki told me that he had two sci/fi - fantasy trilogies in print (he has since had a young adult novel published as well.) Various reviews let me know that the books were worth checking out. I did and before I was halfway through the first of his novels, I was a fan.
I was also a little star struck.

There is something quite wonderful about being able to speak to a favorite author. That isn't something I ever thought of doing when I was younger. Back then, I didn't think much about the people who wrote the stories that I enjoyed so much. Authors were simply names that had to be listed on book reports for English class. How the sentences came to be on the pages wasn't something I took time to wonder about. They were there and I loved them. Nothing else really mattered. Somewhere along the line, that changed. It started when, at 17, I read Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings knowing that although it read like fiction, it was actually an autobiography. The character was the author...the author was the character. Suddenly the people who wrote the stories were as real to me as the words they used.

Later (okay...MUCH later), the internet opened doors to discovering more about the word weavers that I learned to admire.
I’ll admit to visiting RK Rowling’s website frequently back when my life revolved around Harry’s fate. (Okay, maybe not my entire life, but I did once comment to a friend that it would totally suck if I died before the seventh book was released.) I’m a “fan” of Terry Goodkind’s Myspace and Facebook pages. Every one in a while, I’ll check out Christopher Paolini's website (hoping, hoping, hoping to see some sign that the fourth book is getting closer to being published.)
Twitter updates from Kevin J. Anderson let me know what progress is being made on the next Dune book.

Yes, those types of things are nice - but it was Mr. Marco's blog and Facebook updates that I most looked forward to reading. I guess that's because his posts offered a personal connection that fan pages and official websites don't. When he wrote about reading to his son's kindergarten class or mishaps that occurred on a vacation, he became a real person to me.

Then he disappeared.

Gone from Myspace. Gone from Facebook. Even his blog was closed. After a while, curiosity got the best of me and I emailed him. His response was very human. While I will not divulge the details of the correspondence, I can say that his explanation spoke to me not only as a fan - not only as a reader, but also as a person who understands how the demands of life can trump even the deepest longing to write.

So I am sending out a "thank you" to Mr. Marco. I hope to be one of the first to buy his next novel. I'd like for him to know what an impact he has had on me. By sharing a bit of his life with his fans, he helped me see him as human being and not simply a name on a book cover. That was a gift that, in turn, helped me understand that I can be more than I am today. If other authors/humans can work to overcome the challenges before them, I can too! I will not give up searching for those stolen moments that I can use to jot down a thought or two. I will not toss my fictional world aside even when, in exhaustion, I don't think that I'll ever be able to give it the attention it pleads for. Today I am a reader, but if I keep seeking... I might just find that I can be an author too.

1 comment:

  1. When he left, how did you resist the urge just to yell out, "MARCO!!!" Or is that just something I would have done? I would have even waited for the, "Polo!" But, alas... there would have been no polo.