The first thing I ever wrote was a meandering story about a high school student traveling through time and experiencing firsthand the many historical events discussed in his social studies class. I thought it was the greatest thing ever written and shared it with my friends who, like me, were pimply high school sophomores.
Ever since then, I've known I would become a writer.
Deep inside me, longing to escape, was that great American novel. It took shape gradually over years, the first foundation stone laid in my senior year at college when I decided it would be a murder mystery about a guy named Ray. Seriously, that was all I had at the time, but I held onto it like it was a Nobel prize winner.
As I moved through my life, Ray took on new characteristics. For a while, he was a newspaper reporter. Then he was a doctor, then a lawyer, and then back to a reporter when I realized I knew nothing about doctors and lawyers. But I was a reporter from 1990 to 1993, so it seemed best to stick with what I knew.
After ten years, I had gone from "murder mystery about a guy named Ray" to "murder mystery about a reporter named Ray." Doesn't sound like much, I know. Keep in mind I've been working on this for twenty-two years and you'll better appreciate the magnitude of the development.
In the last twelve years, I found myself inventing additional important things for the book, such as a plot, a murder victim, a reason why the victim was murdered, and a cast of characters to support the story. These details came in bits and pieces, in dreams and daydreams, in blond moments when I should have been paying attention to more important things, and quite often only after I had given up on the dream of writing the book.
In other words, the book wouldn't leave me alone. It wouldn't allow me to give up.
Oh, to be sure, it wasn't jumping out in front of me with it's arms flailing, yelling "Here I am! Write me! Write me!" It would throw just enough of a bone to me when I least expected it to keep me struggling forward.
But then I did something the book wasn't expecting. In January of 2010, I turned my back on the book and started writing this blog, primarily because I wanted to write and I didn't care if it was a book, a blog, or a birthday card. Blogging offered a release through which to vent the overwhelming need to write.
After a solid year of posts, I suspected I had enough to fill a small book, so I began compiling them. Sure enough, at approximately 120 pages, the first compilation of posts from this blog -- "Ramblings of a Very Pale Man: Volume One" -- is now available for Kindle through www.Amazon.com.
If you had told me two years ago that I would become a published author on February 6, 2011, I would have laughed in your face. Had you told me that first book would be a collection of humorous essays instead of my beloved and long-suffering murder mystery, I would have called you crazy.
But thanks to Blogger and the astoundingly simple process Amazon has created to self-publish I can now call myself a published author. Without trying to make more of this than is necessary you must understand that I have, within the last twenty-four hours, achieved one of my life-long dreams. It might pale in comparison to my wedding day and the births of my children but it's a dream come true all the same.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends who have been kind enough to read this blog. Thank you to all of you who have forwarded posts to friends, joined the Facebook fan page, left comments about posts, and otherwise encouraged me.
And a special thank you goes out to the mystery shopper in the UK who was the first person -- and presently only person -- to purchase the book. I have no idea who you are, and you have no idea how much you mean to me.
© 2010 Mark Feggeler