9 Comments

So wait - you still *do* illustrate...did you learn to work around the nerve damage? Did you go to Kamar-Taj? Who was the guy who told you you can't write, and what did he mean? He couldn't _literally_ have meant you can't write because the contrary evidence is staring you right in the face. Did he mean you aren't writing a particular way to attract a specific readership? (I get this from some beta readers...what I *ought* to include in order to get a specific market. Unfortunately, those are often things that I have zero interest in writing, and trying to fake it would be obvious.) And lmk if you don't want to share those particulars, that would be totally fine.

Expand full comment
author

Oh, I'm fine with all this being talked about -- or why would I send it out into the world for the first time?

It's about truth for me now.

So let's start at the beginning:

"Did you learn to work around the nerve damage?"

No. During this journey, I'd had carpel tunnel surgery on both hands, and they adjusted bone fragments that had caused me quite a bit of pain. But it didn't fix my ability to draw.

Here's the 'fiction' part -- I just woke up one day, and I could feel...everything. Like it never happened. I was like a giggling child all day, picking up glasses, trying pens, pencils, dancing about with my wife...and when Ondi saw I was drawing one day (though I was trying to hide the pad), he called me on it. Asked me what I was going to do now.

"I don't know. I mean, if I can make more time, I think I'd go back to illustrating. I've missed it SO much..."

So Ondi fired me, right there. On the spot. Grinning, "You have plenty of time now."

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2023Liked by ๐Ÿ’Ž Jaime Buckley

That's...amazing, miraculous, incredible, unbelievable, miraculeivably insane! But wait, you were also working for Ondi at this point? And once the feeling came back, you were just able to draw again? Jaime, this is probably the most incredible personal story I've ever read.

Expand full comment
author

That why one of my first podcast creations was called โ€œLife is like Fictionโ€, because people just couldnโ€™t believe what I told them.

As I mentioned in the article, thereโ€™s no way I could tell everything. It would take the year of articles, or doing a complete biography.

Someday, maybe.

For now, you get nibbles, and if you want more, then stick around as a supporter ๐Ÿ‘

Expand full comment
author

"Who was the guy who told you you can't write, and what did he mean?"

This is a bit harder to explain. I won't use his name, because I don't want anything bad to happen to him or expose him. I'm deeply grateful we met, and that I broke.

How could I be here, right now, finally doing the right thing, unless I'd been through this process! So his name doesn't matter.

It took me a long time to understand his implications. We met through Ondi, and I was told how 'famous' he was behind the scenes in the writing sphere. It was all second hand knowledge, and nothing i could confirm, but the information came from those I trusted.

He agreed to tutor me, to help me improve my skills.

As we got to know each other, he seemed to know people I knew, and those I admired, or held in high regard, this man had a twist on my perspectives. The little things he said would make sense, and I couldn't disprove them.

When he started teaching myself and my wife, we received homework. We both did it, and I know well how good a writer my wife is -- but she has no interest in writing. Whereas I live for it, and hunger to tell stories, but couldn't seem to understand or master the lessons he'd give me. At one point he pointed out that I didn't have a focus, that I was pulled in so many directions...and he was correct.

I was motivated by everyone and everything but myself.

So I'm going to say that I wasn't going to be the kind of writer that perhaps HE thought I should be. But that's okay, I'd like to be ME now.

...whatever that turns out to be.

If readers like my stories, does the opinion of ANYONE else actually matter?

Expand full comment

I know that I'm not actually 'good' - not in the way that literary agents know will sell. I get that I have to be kind to myself and positive and write-like-mom's-not-watching and "Hey, I *am* good!" and all that - seriously, not in an offhand please-the-therapist way, but really and truly. Still, that can't account for the difference between what the agent would see in my writing and what he sees in Brandon Sanderson's. So I find it really generous of this man to invest in you and give you homework and critique. I've never been able to find that kind of help, but I have always looked to exchange workshopping rather than outright paying someone, so not a big surprise there!

Expand full comment
author

This man has taught many people, and ran writing groups as well.

It was very generous of him to take that personal time with me, hours and hours of one on one -- well, I asked if Kathilynn could be there, so it was us as a couple -- to teach me what he knew. And I will say he was brilliant. Truly.

But I had crippled myself over the years, since 2005, listening to other people and not the voices in my head. The voices that pointed out both reason and truth...

If ONE person buys a book, it is likely there will/can be more that will buy the book if give the opportunity. If ten, why not a hundred. If a hundred, why not a thousand, of tens of thousands?

Why can I not gain a following like a JK Rowling? Because I don't WRITE like her??

...but NO ONE wrote like her,...UNTIL her.

So how the hell does that, in REALITY, make any damn sense?

You know who else write in their own way and succeeded like crazy? Two of my favorite authors: Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett

Those men broke so...many...rules...and yet their work, to me, the reader, was breathtaking, epic, and I think of them and their creations often. They inscribed their world creations into my mind and heart for all time. THAT is what I want to do.

Maybe it won't be you. Maybe not the man who broke me. It won't be my wife -- she loves me -- but she'd never buy my books. But tens of thousands of people DID buy my books. Not hundreds of thousands, no, but this wasn't a completed fail IMO.

Expand full comment
author

Jeez Louise! That was an emotional rollercoaster. Your writing is so incredibly raw.

Expand full comment
author

Still have road-rash on my backside from it, but (no pun) I hope you enjoyed it.

There are some who question me often if what I talk about in RL is in truth 'real',...and it's all 100% true. There's much that happened still that was omitted -- or too raw for me to cope with -- so we'll let it go.

Now you know what kind of writer you're associating with, and the foundation I started from.

Expand full comment