Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Undiscovered Country

By Keith Fisher

I’m a Star Trek fan. It comes natural for me. Who doesn’t wish for a future where the pursuit of individual excellence is paramount and greed no longer exists? A bright future where you can visit the other side of earth by entering a transporter?

One of my favorite Star Trek movies is The Undiscovered Country. In the story, a klingon moon explodes and the empire is forced to find a new home world. The federation extends an olive branch and offers to help.

The leader of the klingons calls the future, the undiscovered country. He looked forward to the unknown. Like the klingons, We don’t know the outcome of any endeavor. The future looms over us as undiscovered continents did, to the first explorers.

By necessity, we’re all explorers. Most of us however, sit comfortably in the Old World, while the Magellans’, Columbus’, and Admiral Byrds, trudge forward into the New World of the future. They sail toward the Undiscovered Country, with courage.

Such is the case with those writers who leave the security of a day job to pursue writing as a full time career. I have a great amount of respect for writers who are crazy enough to believe in their ability to sustain their chosen occupation.

They stand on the edge of a deep chasm ready to take that awe inspiring, leap of faith. The rest of us stand at the entrance of the temple waiting for Indiana Jones to find the way.

Many years ago, there was in Paris, an artistic community of writers, painters, and musicians. Some of them lived on the good graces of relatives or they worked just long enough to find sustenance. Others starved. Success in their chosen field was their common dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald and many of his contemporaries came through those times and went on to become famous.

In my ever-expanding circle of writer friends, most of us have family responsibilities. Our day jobs keep food on the table, and turn the wolves away from the door. We can’t run off to Paris and perfect our craft, but we can take a leap of faith.

Submitting our manuscript to an editor is like stepping into the unknown future. If we are successful, the Undiscovered Country will be ours to explore. We might not commit to writing full time for awhile, but we can be like Magellan just the same. Launch that ship into uncharted waters by finishing that manuscript.

As for the community of artisans, opportunities to associate with other writers can be found in writer’s conferences and workshops. Critique groups or the odd retreat or two. Each week in my critique group, we prove there is nothing like talking to other writers about characters who won’t leave you alone. I have a circle of friends, a small community of artisans.

As I said before, I have a great amount of respect for those who give up their day jobs in order to pursue their writing career. I plan to do that someday, but until then, I’m going to keep submitting, and attending conferences.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Click on the image to read my review of Kimberly Job's new book, I'll Know you by Heart.

1 comment:

L.T. Elliot said...

Do you see why I believe in you so much? This so many of your others is full of heart and depth and scope. You found ways to relate to me with so many difference avenues.

I'm looking forward to my glimpse of your crit group and spending some quality time with you guys. Although, I admit, it will be nerve wracking to be among such talented people!