I don't know if anyone's noticed, but it's been nearly six months since I've posted anything on this blog. It's also been almost half a year since I've written any new fiction. Today, I thought I'd explain why.
Writing fiction has been my primary focus for the past six years. I've done all right with it. Readers seem to like my books, I've had the honor of working with many fine editors, other writers, illustrators, and publishers, and I've made many friends while pursuing a writing career. I've even made some money writing, though not nearly enough to live on without a day job. All in all, it's been great. I've had more than thirty stories published, including several novels, and even had a chance to write about a few of my favorite fictional characters created by other writers, most notably Sherlock Holmes.
But I stopped. In part, I think I was just tired. Writing quickly and prolifically for six years straight was bound to wear me out eventually (and it wasn't just the published stuff; there are dozens of stories, some finished and some only begun that haven't yet been seen by as single editor or reader. That was part of it. But there's also the fact that maybe I got a little too caught up in the storytelling. It's fun, so much fun that it can be a sort of addiction. Writing fiction became my sole passion in life for a while, and that wasn't the best course to take.
Looking back on my life, I've had many interests. Not only creative activities like writing, acting, music, and art, but what you might call academic interests too. I've always been an avid reader and that extends far beyond novels and short stories. I've read about many branches of science (I love physics and anything to do with the exploration of space), various parts of history, psychology, religion and mythology and the effects they've had on human society, and the workings of the human mind in general. For most of my life, I've been a person with many interests. I've always enjoyed learning and finding new ways to think about things, investigating the truth, and even sometimes helping others to see things in new ways (I might have enjoyed being a teacher if things had worked out differently). Studying all those things, seeking knowledge and understanding, and having a broad range of interests is a major part of how I became who I am, and how I came to develop the skills essential to a writer.
But somewhere in the course of getting my writing career going, I fell asleep, as if I'd dropped into a snug, comfortable cocoon. My life was happy, calm, and I had plenty of time to write. But it had a strong negative side too. I lost track of what was going on in the aspects of the world I used to be so interested in. My knowledge of science got rusty, the bad things that go on in the world stopped bothering me the way they used to (and a man who isn't bothered by those things isn't going to do any good, is he?), and I isolated myself from the world a little too much.
But things have changed now. Over the past six months or so, I've found myself again, reactivated my mind. What happened to cause this? I'd rather not get into that now, but I assure you I'm feeling great. I have two people to thank for it, I suppose. One is an old, dear friend of mine, a man who taught me, years ago, that I had a good mind, a mind that, as he once said, I needed to share with the world. The other is a much more recent friend, a woman who somehow, when we met, saw what I used to be and could be again, and encouraged me, whether she meant to or not, to wake up and start thinking again the way I used to think.
Now, having been asleep and having come back to what feels like life again, I think I've merged two separate parts of my personality and life into one Aaron Smith. I'm a writer and always will be, and (if you like my work, don't worry!) certainly haven't permanently quit writing fiction, but I now also intend to turn my pen to other work as well. Maybe those last six years of writing fiction have honed my ability to use words to the point where I'll now be able to use that skill for other purposes too. As I said before, I'm interested in just about every aspect of the world and I have strong opinions about certain subjects. I intend to make myself heard about those things too. Some of that will show up on this blog from time to time. I'll talk about things that bother me, things that make me hopeful, maybe things I fear and things I want to see happen in the future (not just my future, but everyone's). I may write more about science or history or the human condition in general. I feel obligated to speak my mind about certain things. I may very well offend some people in the process. I may also help some people to think differently about things or examine subjects from new points of view. I hope I can.
This blog post is the most I've written in quite some time and it feels good to hear the sound of the keys being tapped and see the flow of words onto the screen. There are a lot more words where these came from and some of them are going to be very important to me. I hope some of them will mean something to you too.