Setting Fires in the Rain
There's an indie band I've been following for some time out of Chicago. The title song of their latest CD, "Set Fire", has nothing to do with writing. I imagine it's about a relationship, as most songs are. But the first time I listened to the lyrics, one particular phrase stuck out. "I set fires in the pouring rain."
Immediately, I thought: This is what I've been doing for years.
We all have pursuits and dreams. They're fun to think about. They keep us going. But turning a ream into a reality can feel very much like setting fires in the rain. For me, it was about squeezing it in, staying up to all hours of the night, scribbling in a notebook when the laptop wasn't handy, always knowing there was something else I should be doing; housework, playing with the kids. Always feeling like an invisible fish in an endless ocean of incredible talent.
Still, I kept swimming. The rain kept falling. And I kept setting those fires. I'm not sure why. My dad always said I was stubborn as a mule. Maybe that's what happens when a dream is in you so strong that the idea of not doing it just doesn't exist.
The song goes on to say:
"I will not fall. I will not fade. I will never turn away."
"I'll try harder. I'll reach farther. I'll find a way."
For some, the motivation to keep going, to reach farther, is clear-cut. For others, like me, it's an undefinable itch. Either way, there are no guarantees. We spend endless hours shaping and re-shaping all those characters and worlds in our heads into something we can be proud of-and then revising it ten times-without a single assurance. Giving up would certainly be easier. It just would be as much fun.