This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Warrior And The Maid

"There be three [things which] are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

"The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and ...

"...the way of a man with a maid." Pro 30:18, 19

I give you Feedback and his wife, ladies and gentlemen.
This picture is courtesy David A Krause, who attended the Phoenix AR comic convention where Feedback and his wife appeared over the weekend.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Enthusiasm

Here comes the next season of "Who Wants To Be A Superhero...?"

I think I've stated before, I wasn't as interested in the auditions and whatnot. I don't know why exactly. I knew that I wanted to sing more than I wanted to dress in spandex (again) or display my messed-up psyche for the world to see.

But then a visitor/Tech Supporter went to the tryouts in Texas and showed us pictures, and it resparked my interest! Just through the audition images I sensed the feelings that Feedback generated during his time on the show. Comrauderie, courage, openness, self-confidence, determination, heroism. In fact, because of inside information, I know that those auditioners got along so well, they call themselves the "Texas Titans" after meeting each other.

That is SO cool.

That's in fact what Feedback brought to the first season. The real feeling of a superheroic bond between heroes. It wasn't a competition--it was a family of superheroes losing their members.

So now, here goes the rollercoaster ride again. I barely survived watching Matt being brought to the brink of elimination. How am I going to survive going through it again? Especially now that its 22 supes and 10 weeks long? Well, I'm a friend of Matt's to start with, so that's alright then. And this time I have a supportive Tech Support to commiserate instead of alone, or just with my argumentative infuriating Feedback-hating hero-friend, The Grim Jester (who should totally audition for this show, by the way.)

Game ON!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hominahominahomina ...

Check this OUT (especially the 4th Comment!!)!

Now THAT'S what I call a solid turnaround of my day! A drive-by from the editor's wife, who is herself an editor working for the same publication!

Now here's the dilemma/fear/panic/regret/thrill -- she only read that post. And I told her husband about this blog in the cover letter. So she might tell him that she visited and he might come by too. Should I erase all the negativity of the past day?

I can't help but think that I should not. If the manuscript is good, sellable, and can make money for Tor, then it shouldn't matter that I have bad days, right? And yet, I want my prospective editor to think the best of me.


Mr Neilsen Hayden ... this is the best of me. I am flawed. I just hope I'm a good writer as well.

I Still Feel Bad About My Mini-Rant Yesterday

White people have been very good to me. I feel like the dog biting the master's hand. And that's the problem.

Why do I feel like a dog? Why am I putting the white guy(s and gals) in the "master's" position? I wish I didn't have this dichotomy in my head. Always registering white and black. I'm as conscious of skin color as I accuse white people of being. I'm about 75% on th edefense against possible racism. Maybe more. I carry the scars of the memory of Martin Luther King's assassination and the impact it had on the adults in my life at the time. I am able to trace so much of my poor upbringing on the color of my mother and father's skin, and how their struggle through society affected their ability to have a family (or as the case turned out to be, not have one).

So of course, I get to wrestle with self-esteem and resentment as a result. I want to be accepted (I've covered this) but I want to be respected as well. I want the place that I have a right to have. I want the respect that I earn. I don't want the back seat if there's room at the front, unless of course, I'd rather hide out in the back. I want to right to choose and no resistance to my rights.

But I want to recognize and appreciate the people in my life who have never given me any resistance to my rights. Embraced me and encouraged me, in fact, to use my rights. There are so many white people in my life who have done this for me. They've even overlooked my 'black attitude' when I left it roam free. They've absorbed my blows and given a few well-placed shots in return. I've grown because of them. But is it enough?

Gosh, I just feel like crap today. I must have called three friends last night just because I felt like reaching out (one was busy and the other two didn't answer). This was after the Nitro visit. There was something about the warmth of his family that made me a little melancholic. Leaving his home and driving up the Garden State back to my dysfunction felt empty and bleak. Then, (and yes, go ahead and laugh at this) I found out that Corrine Bailey Rae is married. I get victimized by my own grandiose thoughtlife (but I will still rule out bipolar disorder, because here I am at work. I still "function"). Then I blogged. So I guess I was in a crappy mood and kind of lashed out.

Now I'm at work and I have nothing much to do here in the AM, and I went to a fellow writer's blog this morning and nearly cried reading his post about his children. This isn't as bad as I get, but it's not all that great right now. It's all about the family-sized hole I've got in my heart, I think. Yeah. It is. My eyes are tearing up as I write this, so, yeah. That's it.

I still want to be loved. And worse than that, I wanted to have been loved. Nothing I can do about the past, though, so I have to do something about my present. I have to get loved. I have to be loved. Life is just not worth living without love and I definitely want to live.

So. That's all right then.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So As It Turns Out ....

...Tor Books is in here!

It is one of the imprints of either St. Martin's Press or Holtzbrinck Publishers, or both. And Patrick Nielsen Hayden was totally at work, because when I walked into the building the security guard (who was black like me) wanted to know who I was and who I came to see. I told him and he called up to Mr. Neilsen Hayden, who promptly told him that he didn't know who I was. Well, no, he wouldn't, I explained, because I didn't have a schedule--I just wanted to hand-deliver my manuscript. After much apologizing, the guard had me record my name to the video recorder and what my purpose was--[tourguide] The Flatiron Building is a historical landmark in NYC and as such is under heavy security [/tourguide] he let me up, where I gave it to the receptionist (who was black like me). She taped up the open envelope with the materials inside and I told her she didn't have to, but she said, 'You don't want it to spill out?' to wit I said, well it only has to go from your desk to his, right? and she's like, 'No, it goes to the mail...well there's just a system.' and so I made understanding noises and said it's going to sit in a pile for a few months, right? but she laughed and said 'no it will get read', so I thanked her and left, feeling a shade more accomplished as my day went on. And if Patrick Nielsen Hayden didn't know me before today, he does now. Hopefully not in a horrible way--I hope he heard me say that I didn't have an appointment with him--he was still on the phone when the guard realized he got it wrong, and I didn't intend to try any 'slip my manuscript in' tricks.

Also as I left I thought, that went a lot better than it could have because the guard and the receptionist were black. I'm pretty sure of it. I don't think it would have gone worse if I were white, but I think I'd have been more intimidated if they were. Either that, or they would have been more resistant to me. But I think they wanted to see a black person get his goal accomplished. "Black skin privilege" let's call it. Don't be shocked. It's how America works, only its really called "White skin privilege".

Now what did I jump on that bandwagon for? It's a thought that went through my head, that's all. I also left out of there hoping that I got this book deal for the sake of that guard and receptionist. I wanted a black person to be part of the big money in that building too, instead of just opening doors and answering the phone for the white people.

Damn, I am on a roll tonight. The back of my mind is saying, 'You're being unfair. Your hero is a white guy. Your best friend in the world is a white guy too."

Yes. Yes they are. Okay. Then let's move on.

I went to see Nitro after I got through the midday interruption of my professional life. Saw his very real place of business. Watched him with his friends. Went to his house. Watched him with his family. Felt very, very glad to have gone there. He is actually someone I could see myself hanging out with again. Tonight it was business but it's embarrassing how close he lives, so it could actually be something somewhat of a social thing if ever there's a reason or if the occasion ever just lends itself to being social.

It was his family that gave me this impression. I know a woman just like his mother. I, in fact, miss the woman just like his mother. Open and inviting, energetic, warm and friendly. Italian matriarch. Made me feel like a million bucks. I would hang out with Nitro and hope to get some of that family warmth again as a by-product.

So that's all right then.

And about that white rant earlier? Be advised, we black people have random spurts of that off and on. I'm not sorry for it, but I am sorry if I offended anyone out there. It was within my lifetime that it was once illegal for a black man to marry a white woman. So I've got a ways to go before I believe the country has healed. In fact, if Barack Hussein Obama survives the Presidential election, I'll believe we've progressed a bit. And if he WINS? Well, then just wow. I'll go hug the first white person in the street that I see. :)

Now Is The Time We Hate And Doubt

I had to print out my synopsis a half dozen times last night because I kept finding grammatical errors. It has to do with participles and present or past tenses and other crap that I never took classes for. Example;

Limiting modifiers, such as only, even, almost, nearly, hardly, merely, scarcely, simply, and just are frequently misplaced. Often, the misplacement suggests a meaning the writer did not intend.
For example:

Nancy almost ate the whole pizza by herself.

Manfred has nearly insulted all his co-workers.

In the first example, the placement of almost suggests that Nancy meant to eat but did not. In the second example, the placement of nearly suggests that Manfred meant to insult all his co-workers, but did not.

A limiting modifier should be placed in front of the word it modifies. For example, the sentences above should be rewritten to read:

Nancy ate almost the whole pizza by herself.

Manfred has insulted nearly all his co-workers.

Hoping that I just luck upon proper word useage feels like I'm hoping to win the lottery. Then the unsurety turned into hate for the work and doubt that it was any good at all. I started asking myself what the hell the book was actually about.

"The tragedy that lies before him will not come from discovering if he did the right thing, but in discovering the very nature of heroism itself." quoth me in my cover letter. What the hell does that even mean?!

Argh. I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing.

However, like the hapless bumbling moron I've been for the last 40 years, I'm still going to deliver this mess to Fifth Avenue today, then come back across the bridge for a work appointment, then go to Staten Island tonight for another nerve-shattering exercize in leaving my shell.

Sometimes, I swear.

I need my friend Matt Atherton. I bet it would be all right then.

Edit (after showering, shaving, and self-analysis):

I changed the paragraph to;

I’ve enclosed a synopsis and the first three chapters of my 60,500-word fantasy novel, The Very Elect. It is the story of Anders Travesti, who puts his father to death for heresy against the Cardinal Law of Peridyym and is then sent on a journey to investigate his father’s conspirators. Anders will have to go through devastating loss and self-discovery to find the very nature of heroism itself. This will be my first published novel.

So I hope that's more directional than the last version.

Oy vey.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Now HERE'S Something You'll REALLY Like!

I went surfing for an example for a good cover letter to send with my synopsis and first three chapters of my novel that I'm going to deliver to Tor Books tomorrow and I found this archive from 5 years ago.

I noticed a lot of references to Tor Books in the article. Then I noticed the name of the author--Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Then I noticed the web address.

In case you haven't followed the link to Tor books in the "Editing" post, Patrick Nielsen Hayden is the guy I'm going to give my submission to.


This is almost as freaky as idolizing a real life superhero, sending him an e-mail and ending up writing his audio adventures, then hanging out with his heroic sidekick tomorrow night ... oh.


That's all right then.

So here is the cover letter;

Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Tor Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Dear Mr. Nielsen Hayden:

I’ve enclosed a synopsis and the first three chapters of my 60,500-word fantasy novel, The Very Elect. It is the story of Anders Travesti, who puts his father to death for heresy against the Cardinal Law of Peridyym and is then sent on a journey to investigate his father’s conspirators. The tragedy that lies before him will not come from discovering if he did the right thing, but in discovering the very nature of heroism itself. This will be my first published novel.

I am the author of the blogspot
This Redeemable Life and the writer/creative director of the audio adventures Feedback; A Hero’s Calling found at

Thanks so much for considering my submission. I’ve also included a self-addressed stamped envelope for your reply. I look forward to hearing from you.


Alan White

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I did the work that I needed to do at the beginning of the novel. It upped my word count.

It also made me want to print it out and send it out now.

I'm pretty sure that each time I go over the manuscript, I will be able to, and want to, edit something new. I do believe that I may have already edited something once, then upon reading it a third time, edited it back to the way it was the first time.

Instead of driving myself nuts, I think I'd better go ahead and submit it. We have to give the publishing editor a reason to draw a paycheck, no?

I've chosen to send it to Tor Books. And when I say "send" I do mean march right up to the secretary in their offices on 5th Avenue, and tell her to hand it to Patrick Nielsen Hayden. I remember a very long while ago, when again I was a hungry writer, there was a story about the writers of a book called "The Light At The End". It was said (I forget the source) that they had delivered their manuscript as bike messengers to the slushpile editor, who picked it up after he saw it, was gripped by the first few lines, continued reading it down the elevator on his way to lunch, and when he put it down, called the authors on the phone and offered them a deal. This story came from the 80's and I remember it like legend. Back then, I just knew I would be the next.

Well maybe this time.

What I like about Tor is that I only have to give them my first three chapters and I might hear from them in 6 months. I like that idea better than them having to read the whole thing before they know they don't like it, and take a year or more to tell me. If they don't like it, or it doesn't fit their idea, they should know within 3 chapters, no? And then cut me loose and let me go on to the next, since no publisher appears able to let other places read it at the same time. ("No simultaneous submissions!" they cry. Insecure much? Let a writer hedge his bets and cut off years of nail biting, cantcha?)

But I will still record a reading of it and approach Podiobooks. And if I can't bring myself to do it, I know a guy who might do it for me.

And then there's always my friendship with Matt Atherton, which continues to prove itself as being all right then.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Someone from Italy did a Google search for my exact Blog address and stopped by. Viva la anonymousness, but I'd love to know who you were.

Another somebody came to the blog after researching, from Hunter College in NYC (big kiss! Love that area) what baristas make in Barnes & Nobles. Their search led them to a post I made more than a year ago. When I read it, I felt extremely good about what the year has brought me. If I could make a plan while numb, traumatized, and scared witless--and half of it came true, then imagine what will be accomplished by next year this time?

Heck, I could be married and my wife could be pregnant in a year's time!

"Every dream you've ever had is possible." (I love that guy. SO much.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Novel; Finished.

Essentially. I brought it to an end, but I know I left some things out and will have to go back and fill them in. What I left out was the lead-in for the next book. It stopped at a place that could conceivably keep it as a single volume, no trilogy necessary. But there's a bunch more to be told, so I have to play around with the content a little more.

What shocked me was the way the protagonist's struggle against the Big Bad was resolved. I was all ready for a big Luke-vs.-Darth showdown, but my protagonist wasn't having it. It seems that all on his own, he figured out a way to neutralize Big Bad's threat because he saw the conflict much differently than I did. (This sounds like lunacy, doesn't it? But I promise you it's true.) And so effective was the squash, the Big Bad doesn't even have reason anymore to cause the major warfare that I would be attempting to cover in Book Two. So I dunno what to do now. It's possible my protagonist's story might actually be over.

But for me, the world needs more tales told in it. Other facets of their lives need to be exposed and explored. And I have plenty other peripheral characters who can take the stage now. Wow. I think that just convinced me. I'm actually finished. It's time for the next tale.

And here's some point of interest that I discovered at My Other Hero's wikipedia (yes he made one himself. Because he's THAT cool). The SFWA considers a Novella as being "at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words". Then they say a novel is "40,000 words or more". Well, I should've known better and trusted NaNoWriMo when they said "Write a 50K-word novel. So I was wrong before. I really wrote a(nother) novel!!

Yay me!!

So, let me go tidy it up (which prolly means rewrite the last chapter eight-google times) and go look for that market. Oh, and pod it too. Because I realized I could probably do a fair reading if I were to read all the dialogue seperately, as though I were doing an audio play, since the non-dialogue is in first-person and I have trouble leaving his voice and going into quotes of another character. So I'll work that out.

And I'm a friend of Matt Atherton's. So that's all right then.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm Sorry I Tripped You Out

Try to remember though, I'm a therapist.

1) I understand how many different facets one person can have to their personality

2) I don't judge (a lesson I learned from being in a harsh, punishment-based religion and winding up imperfect no matter what I did. "Hello Mote, I'm Mr. Beam! Nice accomodations here in this eye!")

3) I know what confidentiality means. I practice it on the daily.

But I understand because I felt the same way when I deciphered my SiteMeter hits and discovered crossover some months back. (At the bottom of the page is the link. Anyone can use it and see where visitors are coming from. At times you guys come here from your own sites, and I can backtrack that. But I've only done it because I wanted to know the same that you do here ... what makes you tick. I've no intentions to abuse the information.)

So when I discovered crossover was happening, I thought "Hmm...they're going to discover that the cool mover and shaker of TS is actually a sad, lonely, neurotic failure living in someone's basement."

But then I thought, it's TS. Our hero went on television and opened himself to the ridicule of an entire nation. But instead of that happening, he single-handedly transformed the show from a joke to a newsworthy study in nobility, sacrifice, honor, and the hero ideal--just by being himself. Or more accurately, being TRUE to himself.

So it was Game On from then.

Letting go of my secrets and fears has become my new lifelong goal since the last month of my last blog. Shame had controlled me for more years than you've been alive, my friend, and there came a point where I had to believe that the only friends worth having are the ones who can handle ALL of me because living the way I had been was killing me. So I blog on and I let them read. And I'm glad to say I haven't driven any one of them away yet.

So that's all right then.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dame Judi Dench ...

... will you marry me?

This trailer is her talent and chops. But I fell in love with her during "As Time Goes By" which was /is a BBC series of middle-aged, rediscovered love. I suppose the romance, the music, and the hope in that series helped, but Judi Dench is an amazingly bright and wonderful woman of no small means. She has an awesome way, in comedies, of being controllably neurotic, spontaneously funny, and wry, and has a laugh that is like firecrackers.

I want to marry her, if she'll have me. I think she could take good care of me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Little More About Alex And His Story

(Not in that particular order)

The name of his story is "Outgoing". It has a duel meaning. The protagonist is a poet (and so is Alex), and a part of her struggle is that she is an introvert. I don't know what it's like to be a poet, but I think everyone who spends hours at a keyboard, enjoying, reviewing, and typing out the contents of their mind is going to be chiefly an introvert. Alex has expressed his own introversion, yet he was able to go to Clarion, participate in a local improv acting troupe, and most importantly, able to propose to his girlfriend (now wife) and follow through with being a husband.

But he wrote from the familiar territory of wanting to get into one's own space, staying there, and love, love, loving it. Having to see no one else's face, meeting no one else's expectations, breaking no one else's heart, saying nothing wrong to anyone, not subjecting yourself to anyone else's scrutiny, nor being oppressed by anyone else's personality. That part of the story I enjoyed more than any other aspect--not only looking into Alex's heart where introversion lives, but knowing that he is connected to me by the same thread. Connected by our desire not to be connected.

And in the end, whether I like being around people or not (or whether I want to change that or not--and yes, I do), it is always a gratifying, human experience to know that someone you care about understands you.

Ironic isn't it?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back To The Land Of Fantasy

So I've done a final edit on the Novel So Far and know exactly where to go and how to end it. It is most definitely the first book in a trilogy. The story, just in the dialogue I wrote today, has proven that it needs to expand to three times the current size. But I'm not waiting that long until I submit it.

Here's something that happens with me, something my therapist once described as being "obsessively analytical". I have to understand why a thing works before I know that if I try the same thing, I'll do it correctly. This I can't control each time, like driving the car for instance. Or therapy (which is why it gave me such butterflies when I did it). But I still want to know how it's done. I figure if I understand a thing, I can duplicate the thing's success.

This is why it was so important to see Alex's published story for myself. I had to see if it worked, why it worked. I have to know that if I write, I'm doing it according to the way it works so that mine will work too. Many times, there's no way to know the whys--especially where writing is concerned. You can chalk it up to talent, appeal, timing, whatever. But I had to have something to hold onto --something.

Now that I've read through what I've written, I have to believe that I did it correctly. Correctly enough, anyway, so that an editor will read it past ten pages, and then will be able to stomach it through the first chapter. If it is rejected, it will be done so because 'the market's not right at this time', or 'it doesn't fill our publication goals at this time' or whatever. But it will not be because 'You are a horrible writer. Please do not send any further submissions, as that we will be forced to send a squad to your residence and take you out of the Earth's gene pool if you do.'

I'm currently up to 57K words and I will need possibly 10K more to finish this part of my protagonist's story. I'm also back to writing everyday, even if I don't feel like it. This will cause me to finish this thing and get closer to the dream, rather than delay any further, or fulfill it not at all.

I have tried to record myself reading it and I am a horrible reader. I can't find a neutral tone. I badly act every line and insinuate my interpretation of the words. If I suddenly find the right way, I will record the whole thing and then explore my options at Podiobooks. Since Evo dropped some knowledge on me, I know its possible to publish over there and still be considered for print, with a paycheck. So that may be the first light of day it sees while editors bandy its manuscript around for the better part of 2007. And since there will be all sorts of life happening meanwhile, I'll be able to wait because I'm a friend of Eliel Mamousette's, Alex Wilson's, Steve Hykes', and Matt Atherton's.

So that's all right then!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Other Hero

It only occurred to me after once or twice reading a response from my Other Hero that calling him my "Other" Hero may have been a bit of a slight. That would be chiefly because I'm an idiot. I can't muster enough anti-Me to insult a Hero. Offend, embarrass, and chase away, maybe -- but insult? No.

I had been taken by surprise when I realized that Alex was my hero and I was typing quickly, so after I didn't qualify the primary hero as my 'Spandex Hero' or my 'Superpowered Hero', I needed a quick qualifier to differentiate Alex from Matt. Then of course I got swept into Feedback's superpowered wake, the title stuck, and I had to give Alex a merciful break from my lecherous fanboy advances.

That ends as of this post. I am recaptured by the Heroism of my Other Hero once again.

To recap, my Other Hero earned this title because I went through his Journal and discovered a funny, honest, sensitive and talented young man who had the kind of accomplishments at 29 that I could only dream of. [Grover] And he was cute, too![/Grover] Then suddenly, within weeks of my discovering his innards, he announced that he had a story accepted by Asimov's! But I would have to wait until I got to read it.

Well, last night and today, I read it.

Whatever am I going to do with this foolish little heart of mine? I lose it so easily. I suspected that Alex's self-scouring and self-scrutiny was routinely what we writers partake in, true or no (yes, I'm daring to put myself in his category. That's much more for my uplift than an attempt to drag him down to my level), and I was right. His story is what I expected it to be.

Which is; REAL.

When I say "real", I mean it is on THAT level. There are those of us who dream, and those of us who publish. There is a difference in the work of a fanfiction writer on the internet, and someone who's (whose?) work passes across an editor's desk so that when the editor looks at it they think, "Which issue/month/imprint schedule will we fit this one into?"

Alex is a real writer. When he submitted work to Clarion, they accepted him. When he submitted to Asimov's, they published him.

Now, did I like the story?

On so many levels. On so many.

To begin with, his main protagonist is a black female. This I figured when the character referred in her inner dialog to "white America". White people rarely think about their America as 'white'. For white people, white is just the way it is. Normal. No need to point it out. Every other seems to need it, though. "My black friend", "my deaf friend", "my Italian friend." This was an unexpected scored point to Alex. He is aware of minds that think other to his own. Thank you, Alex.

Then, his protagonist was introduced as a vulnerable child. You want me on-board? Show me a child who is in need, who faces a disadvantage. That, after all, is how I came into the world.

Then, Alex is a humorous man. He knows the funny. He brings it. I chuckled several times during the reading, all full of warmth. Chuckled because there was real humor, and chuckled because I know where Alex journals, and I know how he usually expresses himself, and it was just so truly Alex.

Then, the wording. The prose. The sentence structure. So real. So 'the way professional writers write'. I don't know if editors are the common thread there, and I pray they didn't homogenize my Alex, even if it means the end result is good. But best case scenario, even if, is that Alex has What It Takes.

Then, the story itself. It was science fiction! Really good Science Fiction! I didn't know what Alex had under that shiny pate, but I should've known. If I suspected he was really a writer, I should have known he'd know how to write. Know how to take me places I want to go, and not bore me or deceive me, or force me to call his bluff. I should've known that as soon as Alex told us that an Asimov's editor accepted his story for publication.

I'm only saying all this because I want Alex to know that I know it. I want him to know that I see what's inside there and I want him to take some joy in it. I want him to celebrate and get ready to make more wonder. I want him to be confident and awesome and heroic and beautiful.

And I want to read more stuff, dammit!

Congratulations, Alex Wilson.

You deserve it.

You are a good writer.


So I was up pretty late last night finishing the post about "Dreamgirls" and although I said a LOT, I didn't actually say what I meant to say. (That's how I know I'm destined to be a writer).

I was trying to emphasize my love of music and found myself getting caught up in the nostalgia it brought me. Now I am remembering that I've blogged about this before (although to link to it would take some extra minutes that I don't want to use).

So, why am I nervous about restating it here in the new blog? Same reason I was nervous then, I guess. New audience. You see, I know this software engineer who's (whose?) dreams led him to become The Next Great Superhero. I have crafted a costume in my day and gone to conventions to strut my heroic stuff. Oh yes I have.
I went as Jack of Hearts one time, painting my face half-white and putting the heart over my natural skin as an innovation.

Another time I went as the Taskmaster, complete with shield. (This is odd now ... I've never told Matt that we have this costume-wearing history in common as well). As "Who Wants To Be A Superhero ...?" dawned, I was surely drawn in by my affinity for the spandex. As I work with Matt now, and the next season of the show is discussed, and I watch my fellow fans make their preparations, I am not drawn back into that world. There are fortysomething year-old superheroes, I'm sure, so I'm not deterred by my age.

No. I have a more driving dream. In my last post, I mentioned my two loves side-by-side. Comicbooks ... and music. And I mentioned Jennifer Hudson's failure turning into success. And I mentioned 'American Idol'. And so, yes, you can guess it now.

I want to sing.

So badly.

A few years ago I tried it out with a garage band in Jersey. I tanked. I was so nervous. I couldn't let go and sing. My belly was knotted and strangled my voice.

But I haven't been driven out of the trying.

So I go into NYC to a place called karaoke, which is the cheesiest of all sentences I've may ever have written, and I rent a small private room which is not as private as I'd like when there are other patrons in the next cubicle, and I sing. The first few songs I try are a mess as I reacquaint myself with my voice outside of my head. Or I wrestle with the key of a song I thought I knew. Or I realize that the woman is designed to sound different than the man, and that an alto is not a tenor or a baritone. But I press on until I find that sweet spot. Until the music shakes my hand and welcomes me back to the place we used to hang out together. Until I've made enough noise in the booth that I no longer care who's out there. And until I remember that, hey, last time I was there and sang this particular song ... I sounded good.

I want to sing.

Momma, I Want To Sing.

Music has always, always always helped me. It has always been able to change my mood when I needed it to ... and when I didn't. I remember hearing "Jimmy Mack" when I was a child, and I remember the feeling that song evoked in me. It came out in 1967, so I was only three years old but I remember feeling longing and fear that Jimmy Mack would never come back. That the singer was abandoned by Jimmy Mack, and he had to "hurry back"! I remember the feeling--and remembering a feeling is, in actuality, feeling the feeling again.

I want to sing.

Oh, I want to sing.

I want to open my whole head at the jaws and unleash all my guts like Jennifer Holliday/Hudson does when they tell you that "You ... and you ... and you ... you're gonna love me".

Father, I want to sing.

This is the one true obsession I have. I went to Missouri to be a preacher, but more than any of that, I wanted to sing in that school's choir. I never could be good enough. I have other obsessions, but this one ... oh, this one predates them all.

That's what I was thinking last night watching "Dreamgirls". That's why I thought I would cry. And I think that's also why I didn't. The movie was a triumph, not because of its story, but because of its casting. That was Jennifer Hudson, who tipped into a room one day and stood in front of Paula and Simon and Randy, and wearing a saggy dress with a strap that kept falling over one shoulder, she opened her whole head and sang. They told her, "You're going to Hollywood" and accepted her on the show.

But they had no idea.

Now watch as this Hudson chick sweeps through the awards. Who three years ago was who exactly?


I want to sing.

So. What? What about it? I want to sing. What makes now different than any other time. Yes, Jennifer Hudson. But something else.

"Every dream you've ever had is possible"

That's the difference.

I think that now, after so long, after so many stops and starts, after so many flat notes, queasy bellies, and clammy hands gripping a microphone, I think I have found the support I have always needed. I think I've found the spark that is going to fuel me through the fear and the doubt and the memories of failure. I've met a man with the strength to support me across an entire country, just by the force of his will alone.

I want to sing.

And I think I am going to.

Because you see, yesterday? When I got off work? Before I went to see "Dreamgirls"?

I bought a USB mic.

And a hero believes in me.

And I still want to sing.

So that's all right then.