When I was little, oh, I guess about ten or eleven, I had a big poster thumbtacked to the wall above my bed. If I’m not mistaken I got it from a local library, but I can’t remember. It was a poster I bet a lot of kids didn’t have in their rooms, now or then.
It was a poster featuring the pictures and biographies of famous writers. People like George Orwell, Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, James Joyce, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolfe, and about ten or fifteen others I can’t remember. I think it had Poe and Kafka.
Anyway, it was a great poster. I wish I had it today. I can’t remember exact details, only vague impressions of what it looked like. It was big with a black background and most of the photographs of the famous writers were in black and white. Beside each photograph was a short biography and there may have been a quote included, as well, either from the writer or one of their most famous works. I can’t remember. Those details are too tiny and have slipped through the cracks of my memory.
But here is my main point. I was a little boy, and I had a poster featuring writers hanging above my bed. I mean, come on.
I think about that sometimes. I think about the little roads and threads that came into my life through all those little disparate moments. All I had were dreams back then. Hell, all I have are dreams today. I don’t care how famous you get, I think all writers are spurred on by more and more dreams that keep them awake at night and keep them thinking, planning, working.
I can’t help but think about stuff like that sometimes, given my past. I sometimes wonder what I would tell myself if I could walk through that doorway and see that little boy lying in bed, and what I would tell him. I guess I would tell him, “Hey, don’t worry. Believe it or not you get through this, and you do become a writer. So just keep going.”
Then again, that little boy has never left me. He’s still there, lying in bed, looking up at that poster and wondering what it will take to be a real writer. What you have to sacrifice, what you have to work at, who you have to know, and what you have to learn. He’s still there, with me.
He will always be with me.