…But It’s Not A Murder Mystery, If That’s What You Mean
December 4, 2009
post by author, Alex Bigney
“I like reading it. It’s a wonderful book—but it’s not a murder mystery if that’s what you mean.”
I was stunned. “…not a murder mystery…? Of course it’s not a murder mystery! So, what is it?”
“It’s different,” she answered, slowing down then in order to offer the thoughtful response she could tell I was seeking. “I think it’s beautiful—like a long poem. But not exactly.”
Finishing the first volume of my Tesla journal and seeing it now in physical form has felt a lot like finishing a painted image. There’s always some amount of lag between the euphoria of calling it complete and finally feeling the initial infatuation dissipate. The emotional experience becomes a memory to process. That’s when I begin truly to wonder how others see what I see, what I hope to have shared.
Yes, writing words for others to read has felt a lot like painting—including the eventual realization that the audience is important after all. In the beginning, it’s easy to claim that I’m the only audience to please—that it’s solely for my personal satisfaction. Often it takes a while to discover the truth.
“Hey! What’s the view from over there?” I call across the chasm that separates me the painter from me the person who lives with other people in a house, on a street, in a community, country, and on this planet. That’s how it feels anyway—to pick up my head from my work and to look around. “Is this experience just mine? Or does someone else care? Have I painted the image clearly enough that others can see it?”
I have been reading to her from her own copy of the book and have noticed that she has underlined parts with a red pen. “Nope, not a murder mystery. People don’t usually underline passages in murder mysteries.”
“I hope you like it?” I begged for more.
“How many times do I have to tell you how much I love your book? Why are you so insecure?”
“Isn’t everyone?” I grumble to myself, and to be heard. “I’ve painted enough that I’m confident most of the time about that—but writing…? Yes, I am insecure. Totally.”
“Well, I do love your book—and so do a lot of other people. But, it’s not a common book. You know that.”
“Yeah, I think I do,” I concurred, remembering the many other times in the last few months that we have had the same conversation. I reread a few chapters to myself again after that, as I usually do in order to be reassured.
“Don’t think I’m bragging but I like it,” I told a friend later in the day. “I really do. I like reading it. It gets my thoughts going—loosens me up.”
“Me too,” he agreed. “I love everything about the book! And you should know that.”
“But it always surprises me to find that I really do enjoy it,” I responded. “…sorry to be so insecure.” I took a deep breath and smiled. “Thanks.”
“You know, vulnerability is a strength,” counsels my wife. “…sounds strange but it’s true.”
“I guess,” I admit, “but it doesn’t always feel strong.”