But that’s not what I did. A part of me revealed itself, and I let it play in the sunshine, let it run around in the light, smell the air, laugh and love.
Then I told it to go away. Childhood was over, and it was time for real life to begin.
“Oh, the desire is noble. And we love your creativity,” the anonymous they declared. “But your stories, they’re a little dark, aren’t they? Maybe you are right. Maybe it is what God intended you to be. But answer me this: what are you going to do for a living, young man?”
“You should be an engineer. Or a scientist. Maybe even a pastor, a soldier, or a social worker. You need to find God’s will for your life,” they told me. “Stay away from that writer thing. You’re wrong. That can’t be all God made you to do.”
It’s not a joke. The sanctimonious ‘they’ told me those things. And I listened. What else was I supposed to do? Surely they knew what they were talking about. Pastors, teachers, counselors.
You ever try not to sneeze? For over 20 years? Oh, every now and then one gets loose. A sniffle, and allergic reaction. Use a tissue. Move on. When the only thing you were built for, the only thing you really know how to do, the only thing that when you are doing it you don’t feel like you should be doing something else, is sneezing?
My muse came bursting out of the closet, abused, beaten, bruised and starved, and took over my heartbeat, my breathing, my will, and saved my life. Saved my marriage. Saved my sanity. It would have been easier to jump. Swallow the pills, drink too much alcohol, just to get him to shut the fuck up.
But he wouldn’t. Like George Takei at a gay pride rally, he determined he would be, must be heard. And for once, I listened.
At first it was short stories. A collection of Broken Bones, bite sized pieces of emotion I stuffed inside myself, the only thing I gave him to eat. He raved like a starving monster at first.
Then he wanted Redemption. Hardly satisfied, he then spoke of Temptation. In between were short stories, better written, articulated with one thing in mind: keep the muse happy. Confession came last, and a chapter in my life closed.
I now approach the shore of a great ocean. The beach is peaceful. The waves calm. Off to the side, a dog runs, my Stray Ally. On the corner of the beach, two couples play A Dangerous Game. Under the water, at the edge of the sand, I see something.
It is a body, the corpse of a young girl by the look of it. In her dead and frozen hand, she holds a yellow flower, perhaps a symbol of hope.
In my mind, I know soon a Revival is coming. At last, my muse is working, and at peace.