One of the joys of writing is that it lends me the ability to create my own characters and make them do whatever I want. For instance, I could create a character called kevin that looks like this:
kevin has a face, but how it looks like isn’t very important. kevin loves to drink and is fairly good at it, much like how I love to drink and am fairly good at it.
kevin also loves writing but he isn’t very good at it, the same way I love writing but am not very good at it.
kevin does all his writing on a machine he calls his TYPING MACHINE. It has a screen and a keyboard. This is what it looks like:
kevin likes to write poems and short stories. He also tries to write novels, sometimes. But every time he sits down and starts to work at it he seems to fail tragically.
So kevin has another activity he performs whenever he finds it hard to write. That activity is called drinking. kevin likes to drink several things, especially if they contained alcohol. This is his favorite drink:
kevin loves to get drunk. In fact, he is really good at it; he attracts bad hangovers every couple of days or so.
kevin already has a stack of writing lined up in his room. He files them alphabetically because he suffers from OCD. Every time his mind pictures the word like this
it automatically re-arranges it to look like this
Now, back to his writing. kevin has written a lot of things. In fact, he likes to imagine he is an author. But kevin has never sought out anyone to show his writing to. Here’s why: kevin lives in a small country. The country is located somewhere in the Middle East, surrounded by much bigger countries.
This country’s flag is made up of three horizontal stripes: red at the top, white in the middle and red again at the bottom. In the center of the flag, a green tree is drawn. Here’s how the flag looks like:
In that country, there aren’t a lot of publishers. In fact, the country cared way more about politics and sectarianism than it did about books and literature and art. It wasn’t very good at producing quality books, but it was top at drawing religious symbols like these:
So there was a lot of tension boiling in the country, and not enough focus and interest in producing artistic work. The country seemed on its way to falling off a steep cliff…
So kevin gave up writing. What’s the point of it, anyway, if it’s only going to wind up in one of his old dusty drawers, along with his other writings? What’s the point of it if it’s never going to be read and critiqued by anyone?
The way kevin saw it, writing was limited – it was bound to a lot of variables and defined by them. It wasn’t a full-proof thing or a standalone work. It was collaborative. And collaboration between people was one of the missing variables in the country.
So kevin stopped writing. He decided to stop using his TYPING MACHINE, and instead chose to focus on something else. Something more independent that didn’t require that much collaboration.
So kevin started drawing. But somehow when he compared his drawings to other drawings, he found them to be very different. His drawings weren’t made of shapes – they were made of letters and looked more like words than pictures.
kevin was still drinking, especially his favorite alcoholic drink. He thought his drinking was influencing his bizarre drawing, so he stopped drinking for a while.
But then he started to miss the bad hangovers and started drinking again…
The drawings kept coming out like writing and kevin had no choice but to add them to his stack of work on the basis of similarity. Now he had one big stack consisting of writings and drawings with no one to show them to.
Somehow, whatever kevin did didn’t seem to affect the events of the country that was still busy painting religious symbols on its walls. kevin thought he should try to learn how to draw religious symbols, but those too came out like words…
kevin decided he no longer wanted to create. He no longer wanted to entertain. He no longer wanted to educate. He just wanted to sit down and drink his favorite alcoholic beverage.
So he did.
But listen, kevin liked to drink especially at night and then take off his clothes and slide under his sheets. He liked to sleep with the taste of alcohol in his mouth. But every night he’d wake up and find his TYPING MACHINE next to him in bed, even though he was positive he didn’t put it there before going to sleep. So he decided it was somehow his fate to keep writing, to continue working at the word, to continue filling his old dusty drawer…
I will stop here and tell you that I am not kevin. I am an entirely different entity, a different being. I have already written much and drawn sufficiently enough, and I am still writing and drawing as I go, while he is still trying to find the courage to pick up his TYPING MACHINE again.
Be sure to check out my debut novel, A Road Away From Home, available on Amazon Kindle for 2.99$ and now in hard copy.
Why you should read this book:
If you’re looking for the next Great American Novel, then this is not it. I promise you this is not a literary masterpiece. I promise you this is not a great book of art. Let us not fall into the illusions of grandeur and simply call things by what they are: A Road Away From Home is a novel, meant to break social boundaries and shatter common beliefs. It is meant to be read with examining eyes and an open heart, for its power lies in its truth. It carries honest words and stems from a very raw, real place. It is meant to contain rough edges, it is meant to contain strong parts that challenge the reader and push him to his limits. If you read this novel and do not feel at a certain point that you want to drop the book or burn it to ashes and move on to something else, then you are not reading it correctly. You are not fully immersing yourself in its story and its social milieu and its characters. This book is made to push you into giving up on it after tough chapters, but as in everything else, the beauty lies in waiting. For only when you see this book through will you truly understand all of its parts and piece them together: every act, every decision, every situation, every thought…and then, just then will the book have proven that it is a whole entity, much more than the sum of its parts, and it will have connected you to its world and its characters and shared with you a piece of their lives in a land perhaps far from yours. But all this, of course, is only possible if you read the book correctly.