Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No Man is an Island

I graduated with an MFA in Script & Screenwriting and thought that I wanted to be a screenwriter. But when I “discovered” plays, specifically Arthur Miller, I became more interested in writing for the stage, though I would still write screenplays on occasion. This was during the period when I had two plays produced.

One rainy day while my wife was working, I sat at my desk in my office (spare bedroom) staring out the window. It was before we had children, so the apartment was quiet. And while I was sitting there, a thought occurred to me, or maybe it was just an image. It was that of a rich man on large manor, and while he was staring out the window (much like I was), he was watching a young orphan that he just adopted. But no matter how hard he tried raising this kid as his own, the young orphan wanted to live in the streets. So with that image or idea in my head, I began writing a short story (a very short story).

 I then began turning this short story into a treatment for a stage play. But as many stories do, it began to morph into a grander story, one that wouldn’t fit on stage. This was the beginning of my book that is now called Scar of the Downers. But there, in my head and in short story and treatment form on my computer, the story stayed. After all, writing a book was too daunting. You know, with all those pages and all.

Well, a few years later, I was at a used book sale and found an interesting book, one that I never heard of before called The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr. When I bought it, I didn’t immediately read it; it stayed on my bookshelf for several weeks (more or less). But, when I did begin reading it, I loved it! For some reason after reading this book, I felt as if I could write one of my own. If a book ever inspired me to start writing novels, it was this one. Not only did it inspire me to begin writing, it made me believe that I could write.

For the next seven years I would write and write, trying fervently to get an agent or a publisher to read my stuff. The one thing I discovered over these past few years is this:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” - John Donne

To make it in this business (and life), you need people. You need people to give you a chance. No one has made it in this world without the help of someone else. A businessman needs customers for his business to survive, a politician needs voters, a worker needs an employer, an employer needs a worker, and even a king needs subjects.

So how does this relate to writing? Well, it reminds a writer to be humble. No matter how talented a writer is, he needs other people to help him: an agent, an editor, a publisher, and even more than that, readers.

Without other people, a writer is only a lonely person typing on a computer or writing in
a notebook.

Without other people, a writer’s work is destined for deletion, dust, or a wastebasket.

Without other people, a writer is a bitter person with nothing more than memories of a dream he or she once held.

Without other people, a writer is a confused person who mutters to him or herself a lot.

Without other people, a writer has many stories, but only one reader.

This thought doesn’t only apply to writers. It applies to every living being. We’ve never made it on our own without the help of someone else, and we never will. We’ve all had parents, friends, teachers, employers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and children. If men and women were meant to succeed alone, then they would’ve been made alone.

WiDo Publishing offered me a book contract for Scar of the Downers last week, and they've just issued a press release about it. I'm thankful to them because they've given an unknown writer a chance, and I hope that they are blessed for that good deed. I know I was blessed with a wife who has encouraged me through the ups and downs over the past (almost) eleven years. I wouldn't have gotten this far without her, and for that, I'm thankful that I am no island.


  1. I am happy you have a chance to fulfill your dream. Good points on humility.

  2. My favorite blog post thus far. You are both very special people. And I for one, am thankful for you both, and for your humble spirits. Thank you God for placing them here among us. What a blessing.