Unpublished Novelist

a man reading book while sitting on a bed

In the late hours of the night, I often find myself alone with my thoughts. I’m a solitary figure poised on the precipice between creation and oblivion. The cursor on the screen points to a blank document, out of habit, often with a vaguely defined purpose. Suddenly, my fingers rampage across the keyboard, and words spill forth in digital Helvetica ink. The words begin to flow from me like water from a cracked dam, driven by a force I scarcely understand.

Day by day, the words accumulate, like the sand grains of a beach. Rapidly, under the pressure of my demanding output, they become veritable mountain ranges of text that live and breathe in the digital ether. The clouds on which these digital verses and prose are store begin to bulge and fall ever lower in the sky under the weight of a million words. 

For too long I saw myself as a novelist doomed to remain unpublished. As such, my archive overflows with all of my various efforts: stories, poems, prose, and speeches probably never to be spoken, all jostling for space in the digital realm. Each past work of mine clamors for my attention, begging for a chance to be heard in a world becoming increasingly deaf to mutterings of beauty and truth.

As a scribe I’ve labored long and hard, often typing away in solitude, with only my muddled thoughts for company. I find myself asking critical questions of what I hope to accomplish with each session of unmitigated typing. What lessons does I seek to impart through my tales? What truths do I hope to convey with my characters’ successes, failures, struggles, and desires? Alas, the world beyond my screen seems too distant and too preoccupied with its own distractions to pay heed to any message I may have to share.

For so long, I was but a solitary soul navigating the vast wilderness of my own imagination, seeking to carve out a space where my voice could find its echo. The act of writing for me isn’t merely a pursuit of artistic expression, but a desperate search for meaning in a world that often feels bereft of it. But, who would give their ears to hear, or hearts to understand, the musings of this solitary soul? 

With increasing frustration and countless obstacles thrown my way, my words grow ever more harsh and bitter. I find myself railing against a world I see as consumed by darkness and corruption. Yet, despite the cynicism that taints my view of the world, I still yet believes in the power of storytelling to bridge divides and illuminate the darkness. I must tune my words to a key of rebellion against the unprecedented apathy of our age.

Driven by a passion that couldn’t be quenched, I ventured on, even if hardly anyone took notice. Sadly, a writer in search of an audience is often perceived as simply a voice crying out into the void. Yet, in a fortunate twist of fate, one day someone did heed my words, and made every attempt to make my acquaintance. Finally, this unpublished novelist was no longer a solitary wanderer with her words. Finally, I’d found an audience, even if it was but only a single soul. It was the echo I so desperately needed. 

Even then, I still found it a great challenge to find a balance between the urge to retreat into solitude and the pressing need to confront the realities of our existence head on through the written word. Navigating the treacherous waters of self-doubt is not a task for the weary or weak-willed. I’m ever haunted by the ghosts of past literatures, by the fear that everything worth saying has already been said. Yet, my drive to add my voice to the chorus of souls that may otherwise be forgotten refuses to be silenced.

In this endeavor, I am both critic and creator, looking back with nostalgia on a past that seems somehow more real, more authentic, than the present. Even as I strive to shape the future with my words, I long for a past that I created for my own comfort, the very playground from which my fiction sprouts forth. The real world with all its failings is absent from my fiction, which has greater and more colorful problems to deal with. Yet, reality does loom large in my other writing, especially my essays and poems. 

So, I continue to write, propelled by a mix of despair and hope, driven to create a poignant reflection of my own struggles to make sense of the chaos and to find a way to contribute something of lasting value. My journey is one of endless exploration, a quest to capture the fleeting beauty of the human experience and to channel it into meaningful stories hinting at profound truths. This literary journey is fraught with uncertainty, but I undertake it with a sense of duty, a desire to bear witness to the times in which I live. I also hope to offer, in my own flawed way, a vision of what might be if enough people cared to better themselves.

Perhaps, in the end, my words will find their audience. No longer am I entirely unpublished, as some of my poems and essays are now in print. But the dream of being a published novelist is still yet unrealized. However, I will not allow my fictions, no matter how childish or out of touch they may seem, to drift off into oblivion. The dreams of a child must not carried away by the relentless tide of time, as these are the stuff of imagination and joy that should inspire us. 

Only time and interpretation will reveal the true meaning of my words and the legacy of my labor. It finally occurred to me within the past year that there are too many stories for me to tell for the common novel to contain. No, I must create a compendium, a documentary set within the expanses of fictional galaxies that reside uniquely in my own grey matter. While I’ve been an unpublished novelist for so long, I will not rest until the fruits of my youthful exploits are realized. Soon enough, my seeds of mirth and satirical irreverence will bloom into fantastic gardens filled with endless, light-hearted, fun times.

~ Amelia Desertsong

P.S. Originally written in the form of a mediocre poem, the key points were expanded upon in this 2024 essay.

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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