I come from an artistic family.  My mother beads jewelry and both sells it and gives it away as gifts; people admire how professional it looks.  My father carves lawn decorations and walking sticks, again to sell and give away; people are always asking him to make them something.  My older brother also carves, and sells his items on eBay; every time he has something new my parents rush to the computer to see what it is.  And that's just my immediate family…my grandmother quilts, and my aunt is a published writer…I'm sure there's more.

Me?  I take lots of nature photos…and sometimes draw…and I write.  I've written four novels, two completed serials of over 100 chapters each, numerous short stories and novellas, and am currently working on two other serials each totalling hundreds of thousands of words so far, and there is more to come.

No one in the entire family is interested in even glancing at any of it.

Possibly because it's fantasy, and it's so long, but most likely because it's just not published, and is not making money, and hence is worthless.

Not even my aunt, who writes, has shown any interest in looking at it.  And this isn't new.  Nobody in my family has ever been interested in reading what I write, from childhood on.  I recall trying to read to my parents and being told in irritation to go read to the cat or something.  And in school, while it was so cool to be a writer when I was in elementary grades, once you enter junior high you quickly learn that to be a writer is to be a geek and to be made fun of.

I eventually learned to be ashamed of what I love to do so much, and to be too embarrassed to talk about it even when people do (just out of politeness) ask (after which they lose interest as soon as they hear I'm not published).

Even online there's little point.  I resigned myself to never being published (because, if nobody's willing to read it for free, why bother going through the heartbreak of rejection after rejection?) and tried instead to focus on merely entertaining others, since that's what I want to do more than anything anyway.  And sure, I do get lots of people telling me how good I am at what I do.  But they never stick around long.  They rarely, if ever, wish to read an entire story straight through, much less a series, and none of them care to be my friend or to talk further.  My writing never inspires anyone to anything; nobody even links to my sites anywhere.  Most don't even wish to let me know whether they like what they read or not, so who can tell if they're even reading?

I put so much hard work into what I do–much more than a lot of other people–surely at least as much as the work my family puts into their projects, and other online writers and artists put into theirs.  In fact sometimes I know I work even harder.  Just how often does one come across an online writer who actually WRITES something and finishes it?  I can't count the times I've seen online artists and writers who brag about the story they're GOING to write–SOMEDAY.  They have all the time in the world to draw pictures of it, but the writing, that will have to wait until they have time, but SOMEDAY they'll do it.  And those who do post a few chapters (usually full of misspellings and grammatical errors), they'll finish it SOMEDAY when they have time.  They love to talk about their grand ideas for stories…but as for actually finishing them?

They usually don't.  But they have all sorts of fans hanging on every word they say.  Fans who stick around for years and years and are interested in every little thing these artists and writers produce.

I've never achieved this…and I actually FINISH the stuff I talk about writing.  I'm lucky if I can get somebody to read one chapter, much less one story, and sequels?–forget about anyone sticking around for them for long…

I try to console myself by cynically thinking that the very fact that these people DON'T ever finish their huge writing projects is the reason why people stick around–if they did finally get the time and incentive to finish their massive stories, nobody would bother reading the whole things.  But I know from experience that this isn't always true.  And I can't understand why all my hard work has amounted to so little when I've tried just as hard, even harder, than so many people who have tried so little but gotten so much in return.  Why doesn't what *I* do mean anything?

I would say it's just because it's not published, but I'm pretty sure that's not the reason…even if my name were in print and on a shelf, there would be the usual "Oh, how nice"s, and then nobody would bother reading.

All one's life they're told to keep trying, trying, trying.  But what is the point in it?  Where's the reward?  I can't even just believe in my worth on my own, because the world has taught me that I'm worth nothing, and it's hard to believe in one's worth anyway when all one wants to do is entertain others who are not interested in being entertained.

I just wish I could find some kind of use in all this trying.

 

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