A Writer’s Reach

Slowly getting my ducks lined in a row and will start the new novel soon. I’m looking forward to it. The original idea has stayed with me for some time now so I think it has merit. I’ve had ideas come and go before, and you come to recognize this as a writer. Not all ideas are equal. Some aren’t worth your time.

But this idea about hobos and Sumerian mythology has me captivated and I am looking forward to exploring the themes and characters more.

I am attending the World Horror Convention in New Orleans next week so I will be busy with that. I hope to start writing the novel when I get back. I do have a propensity to always start a short story when I attend conventions so I may do that in New Orleans. Not a bad thing. I could use another short story under my belt.

Last week I started reading Beowulf again. I haven’t read this since high school. I also did some extra homework and read up on the background, literary criticism and other things surrounding this story. It fascinated me and got me to thinking about a writer’s reach.

The author of Beowulf is completely unknown. But the story has endured all these centuries because it speaks to places deep in our heart and has the capacity to move us and make us relate in ways other stories cannot. How does this happen? I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately.

It’s funny. No matter what we write we never really know how it will affect someone or what kind of reach, social or historical, it will have. Even if the story disappears it still affected you in some way when you wrote it. I have been thinking about that a lot and it has moved me in some subtle ways.

Over the weeks I’ve heard from friends and gotten support about my writing from them. It means a lot to me. I suppose all writers are looking for validation of some kind, even if it’s nothing more than the personal knowledge of accomplishment. I never got into writing to see my name in print. I got that out of my system when I was working on the school newspaper. When I started writing professionally I used a pseudonym because it didn’t matter to me whether my given name was on the story or not. At the time the story was more important than my name.

Today that is still true. I just use “Kenneth Mark Hoover” out of laziness. I honestly get no gratification at all out of seeing my name in print. I just don’t care about that. For me as a writer it’s the story that matters most.

I suppose that’s kind of an aberration. I won’t deny it.  But for me the reach doesn’t come from the author’s name. It’s what he has to say on the page that resonates.

This is what I try to keep in mind when writing. It’s never about me. I want to be invisible on the written page. Let the story speak. Let it have reach.

The author of Beowulf is unknown. But the story endures. That speaks to me.

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