Three and a half years ago I folded a note I had written to myself into my wallet, and there it remained. I told no one about this note. It weathered and wore but it remained. Nearly every day for three and a half years this note proved a reminder to myself. This note read: I will be a writer. A week ago, I removed this note, finally, and burned it.
I had written the note with a certain idea of writer in mind—an official version of writer. I hope now I have finally killed that ambition. I realized, only last week, that I had become a writer, in a very true sense, finally, in my old age.
Writing has never given me greater joy or fulfillment than it does now. Even as a child, what enjoyment I gathered from writing was lost in the sense that a great distance separated my vision and my execution. Now, I feel no anxiety, no pressure, no sense of limitation. I feel no duty to anyone or anything other than to myself, and my desire to create work that is pure.
And I feel very good about the work I am creating. You will probably not agree with me, reader, but I believe it is a great book. Finally, I tell myself, I am creating a great book. This is all I need. This joy. This sense of creation and fulfillment. This process of slow, difficult labor, and the lovely work that I am slowly revealing. Yes, I believe it is a great book, in the truest sense of great.
The business side, then: I now have enough pre-orders to print 100 copies. Now, I am only focused on finishing my revisions and publishing the book. I will most likely only have 100 copies printed– I can see no demand for more than that—and it no longer matters—The old hopes to sell thousands of copies, be reviewed in major publications, and read to crowds…. no, no longer. Reader, there is nothing like the freedom found in failure, in floundering, in giving up the old ambitions and finding again—finally—the purity of the purpose—and in the old purity discovering again a sense of fearlessness and excitement once believed lost.