What If (2013)

What if you published a book and no one knew?

What if you spent years getting to know characters and locations and histories and no one else knew you had built an entire world? What if you spent countless days writing of them, in notebooks and napkins, with pixels and pens? What if you knew these characters as well as you knew the way your bed feels in the middle of coldest winter: every lump, every pocket of safe warmth?

What if no one else knew?

What if you invited people into one of your most secret places and no one dared step over the threshold?

What if you left the door cracked open, despite winter’s chill?

What if the door blew shut?

What if it blew open?

What if you published one of the closest truths to your heart? What if you wrote word after word after word without knowledge of where they would lead and realized you were actually knitting — knitting with nouns and verbs, piecing this thing together that you didn’t think you could ever find words for, but there they were. What if they trailed out before your eyes, bread sinking into fresh snow.

What if, what if you had the courage to send them out into the world where someone else might find them? What if someone did find them? What if someone who was not even looking for a breadcrumb found yours, plucked it from the snow, and let it melt in their hand? What if someone said “this is the most honest thing I’ve ever read from you”?

What if no one else ever read it? What if only you read it? What if there was only ever you and these words? What if someone said “I’m not disappointed in you”? What if someone amazing said “you inspire me”?

What if no one said it?

What if there was a place you could return to, time and again, because you know it as well as you know the roof of your mouth under the slide of your tongue? What if no one else ever explored this place and discovered its treasures? What if everyone did?

What if we can only keep moving forward and not look back? What if we never learn from mistakes? What if we do? What if we are more awesome than we ever, ever, ever know? What if we are more awesome than we can know?

What if we just kept going?

What if we never stopped, despite the snow and the dark and the cold?

What if we just kept going?

3 thoughts on “What If (2013)

  1. Trisha Lynn

    This breaks my heart a little. One of my writer-friends went through the same thing recently when a large novel she spent ages working on and revising didn’t find its audience. I wasn’t sure what to say to her then and I’m not sure what else to say to you now other than I’m sorry and I hope the next one does better.