|For at least the last 67 years I have roughly ordered myself not
to continue desiring those things I wanted, but had no chance of
Funny how the mind goes on hoping for the impossible while the soul is dragging in the dust and slogging through the mud of affliction, overwhelming odds and even persecution. Every worthy dream that has come true in my life has had to be bought at a price far too steep.
Even the desire to become an accredited writer took 42 years of total, absolute rejection slips. I wore out two manual typewriters and one electric and I couldn't do it.
"NOBODY wants what I write, can't you get that through your head, boy?"
I gave up.
I cursed that stupid desire to write. The fire finally flickered, then went out. The spiral of failure continued until finally there came the night when I was in an abandoned shack and faced the coldest night of the century with just some old children's clothing left behind by someone -- for warmth.
Physically I was unable to go on robbing garbage cans for food.
I knew with a perfect certainty that would be my last night. As I shivered there in the last hours of daylight there was nothing of mine left to my name but a pen and an old notebook.
I had been homeless for 8 years. I thought of my children, and wept bitter tears that wanted to freeze on my face. They had been taught by bitter experience that I was a total washout. In all my life of trying I had not sold a thing. I could not leave one thing behind me that any of them could even think of treasuring.
"But I want them to know when someone finds me that I went on trying until my last breath."
Searching for something to write about I thought finally of the troops in Valley Forge that terrible winter. Who better to write of them but I? I wrote of their battle with the snow and the ice and bitter wind -- and most damning of all, their knowledge that they had failed. Their foes had forgotten them, their foes wouldn't even waste a bullet on them because they knew and the world knew that the cause of freedom would freeze to death that winter.
What I wrote has seared my soul ever since. That night I looked at it and I knew that nobody could ever again tell me I could not write. In my darkest night of forever, I became a writer!
Only by an act of God did I survive that night. One week later a client let me write for him. I had an assignment to provide a dedication for a veteran's monument. It was published locally, then went around the world, and I was paid, $100! It was my FIRST check for writing anything.
It would cost 25 cents to copy that check, and I did not have the money unless I cashed that check. I could have begged it, I could have borrowed it, but I refused to tarnish my dream that had come true.
I waited. For 3 days without food, I hung on until I had that quarter.
So when I write now, the message I hold in my mind and want to share with my readers is that in man's soul lies a divine spark that cannot be quenched by any circumstance on earth. We can lose every battle and still win the war.
Even if I had gone out that night, and no check had ever touched my hand, my Father in Heaven would have been proud of me.
My children have a heritage they can be proud of. They may not claim it, but no man can ask more of me than I have given.
You have come here as writers, either already published, or with dreams that someday you will someday win that crown of distinction. I salute you for the potential that is in you. The desire to touch the world for good is yours.
"Writers are forever!" I want YOU to know how true that is. No other art has that potential. The Mona Lisa will someday fade out, crumble to dust and disappear -Even the cave art in the caves of France will someday be gone - but YOUR work, as a writer, even as Homer has proven -- has the potential of enduring forever and it will still be just as fresh and clean as the minute you send it out.
So I ask you, as friends with the unquenchable desire to be a writer, able to go on through eternity, touching the world for good, forever --
If you knew your next message would last forever, what message will you leave behind?
Earl H. Roberts
Sales Director at TaleWins Dot Com
P.S. Oh, that piece I wrote that dark night? It never sold. After 30 rejections I have claimed it as my own; it is a prized possesion.
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