Choosing to be a writer takes courage and strength. Remember on Happy Days when Chachi wanted to be a rock star or on Laverne and Shirley when the roommates aspired to be in show business? Their families often encouraged them to be or do something else with their lives, as if what they wanted was too lofty.
I remember those looks and conversations and it caused me to shut down until I could speak freely with someone who respected what I chose to do for a living. I mean, what’s so wrong with wanting something big? If I said I wanted to be CEO of a company, people would’ve reacted differently and congratulated me. Instead, I got the murmurs of disapproval, but why? Is it because being writer, singer, actress, painter, poet, photographer or dancer seem unrealistic?
What I see is; without these art forms, there’s no entertainment. Period. If one can believe I could be CEO of a corporation, why can’t they believe I could be a novelist? Are they telling me I could never be good enough to write for TV, in which they waste hours and hours of their lives watching? How do they think this is possible?
Using another example, The Color Purple was a novel and the movie is on TV every week! Do my skeptics think actors just get on the screen and talk and it’s automatically great? Someone inspired this and her name is Alice Walker. Without her, this beloved film wouldn’t exist. I aspire to be this talented and my skeptics fail to believe I can do this, just like Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham and Mr. De Fazio didn’t wholly believe in Chachi, Laverne and Shirley.
Despite my skeptics’ thoughts and reservations, I persevered. They don’t have to lift a finger to help me and I’m no longer embarrassed to say, “I write suspense novels”. I realized that it wasn’t my embarrassment, it was the thoughts and feeling of the skeptics that I allowed myself to absorb. I guess the approval of those closest to us means so much and when we don’t get it, we feel like we are wondering around aimlessly, without support. The truth is, we have to support ourselves by believing in what we do and most importantly, we must do it for ourselves and not to prove anything to anyone.
As I crafted the acknowledgments page for the novel Master of Manipulation, I thought carefully of what to say and what I experienced was a wave of gratitude.
Many thanks to my parents, Carl and Joyce Crews for putting up with me. My brother, Skyy for being the best cheerleader on Earth. MFA photographer and professor Michael Wessel, the most critical artist I know and an avid reader for his encouragement and belief. If not for his brutal honesty, I wouldn’t have broken the barriers of creative complacency and push myself to always be better. My assistant, Dee Delaney for reading each draft with patience laced with dire anticipation. Seeing her so emotional helped me find my true voice. Without all of you, I would be in a different place, filled with regret. And the fans, without you, there’s no me, thank you, thank you, thank you –infinity.