I used to be a writer.
For a while there (never mind how long, precisely) I was for-real, with job and a paycheck, health insurance and a 401K. Then, for another while (never mind how really-really-really fucking long) I was one of those “Imma writer” writers, who cleaned houses and drank a lot and who, admittedly, wrote three whole books that still live in a thumb-drive somewhere if I ever have the balls to find it. If I haven’t, in a fit of Life-Changing Magic, thrown the tiny, thumb-sized thing away.
During the time I was pretending (or “attempting,” let’s be kind) to write, I had a blog. Started at the behest of my agent (see? I’m not entirely kidding when I say “attempting.” She was real. And? As far as I know? She still is.), in the hope it would earn me an audience and help to “build my platform” (that’s agent-speak for “something to put on a resume because no one will publish you”). It did neither. It was funny – or I thought so, at the time – and my family loved it, but the only (best) thing that came out of it was a handful of far-flung friends I’ve never met.
There are several, but four specifically that chamber in my heart of hearts: a tattooed redhead in Virginia with whom I will someday drink whiskey and kick shit, I swear to god; a smart-mouthed brunette in Michigan – we watched our mothers die and got divorced together, and together we came out the other side; a cute blonde woodworker in San Francisco, whose smile I swear I can see from here; and then there is the Bald and Bearded Swede…
The Bearded Swede is also a writer. When we met, I thought he was “pretending” just like me. But five years ago he was accepted to the Odyssey Workshop in New Hampshire, and that Changed Everything. Also? I lied when I said I’d never met any of my Final Four in person: because while he was there, he came to Maine and visited with me. Came back another time, too, on a detour off a meandering vacation – and I don’t know if I ever told you this, Martin, but I have family that hasn’t been here twice!
Martin, that’s his name. And after that Workshop – while I was having the five-year non-writing tantrum that I called “getting realistic” – he was working a Real Job and Getting Married and suffering from Cluster Headaches and Getting Very Serious about his writing. I’m not sure I understand the particulars of how it happened, but somewhere in there he joined (or organized?) a collective of Swedish artists, and collectively that Bearded bastard wrote, Kickstarted, and published a motherfucking Book.
He sent me one. It arrived yesterday. It is exquisite. Not for nothing, but Clive Barker wrote the goddamn introduction. The artwork is frightening and intricate and dark and beautiful, and Martin’s stories seep from it like honey from a hollow tree.
You can read about, and buy, it here.
It arrived yesterday.
And today, I’m doing this.
P.S. Martin quit his Real Job last month.
Oh yeah, and P.P.S. I have a dog.