There is one undeniable delight in writing: You are able to preserve what you know, defend the facts of your knowing, reconcile the truth, and create your own bookshelf of your life’s work. There is a great moral duty and an ongoing human wondering in the task of the living author — one that must not be slighted in practice or disparaged in theory — even when the current events of the day and the damnation of history are upon us.
The idea of writing your own bookshelf — either physical or virtual or both! — is an enticing challenge that keeps one awake at night while also becoming the manna that feeds our dreams. Slowly, and with great deliberation, we place important ideas on the shelf to be shared and examined. It is that process of self-preservation that leads to revelation of character and a true intention of spirit.
You are very busy with all these new Boles Books! You should start a library!
Writing is a collaboration with yourself — as your own intentions and actions and acquisitions are called into question for examination against the greater self — the process is reflexive and recursive and not reflective or scripted. What you value becomes you and what you disparage becomes the aim of any enemy, real or justified.
The greatest achievement of writing your own bookshelf is the breadcrumb trail of ideas and advances you leave behind to outlive you. As I’ve written before, we write for the next 50 years ahead of us, not behind us.
Authors get into trouble when we allow the corruption of our worldview to become real — and that usually happens when the taint, and temptation, of money enters the dyad.
Instead of writing what we know and what we must share, the author instead turns outward, instead of remaining inward, to write the wishes and to compose the dreams of others who are unable to write with their own wands; and that is where dismay and disconnection and failure of duty come into play if one is not careful.
Certainly writing for profit is never a bad idea — and some of us preternaturally have extremely mainstream tastes that create universal human touchstones that cater to big money ambitions along the writing pathway — but for most writers, the reward is smaller and simpler and more ominously dangerous: You eschew who you are in order to make bank, and once that slippery slope leads you, there’s no easy way to cling your way back to the moral high ground.
I’m sure you’ve met the heartfelt sellouts — they think they’re playing a divine game of craft against commerce — but in the end, it is always business that ruins the day and wins the graveyard — and every great and aspirational intention of the author is mitigated to work-for-hire and to a foundering in the unemployment queue.
Of course, the modern idea of success in the USA is to become rich and famous and if you aren’t part of that bastardization of the American dream, you have a zero sum value and are a lazy, worthless, cog in the machine.
We know the opposite of that disparagement is true because the real value of the exchange between idea, and the preservation of seeing, is eternally bound in authorship — becoming the truth of the human condition in society.
If we lose what we do not value, then we must continue to protect and serve the right to write and the right to remember what is written — even if the memories are not our own — because the bookshelves we leave behind for each other become the library of us, and the shared notions of what we know is right, and necessary, and functional as a harbinger existence in a shivering world.