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.