It is past two o’clock early morning, and the only sound that is audible from his slightly lit bedroom is the continuous tappings of the computer keyboard and the pitter-patter sound of raindrops from the outside. Harold has been writing in the past three years as a freelancer and had finished writing his first novel, but couldn’t make an impression to publishers. The commanding voice of the editor-in-chief of Joe Publishing is still clear in his head.
“The story is so good, but I need you to add more flavor in the plot. Put a detailed and indulging sex scene. A lot of readers remember and recommend books because they felt excited, aroused and satisfied. I will only consider publishing your novel if you do what I say. Remember, we have to make sales.”
He couldn’t sleep. His anger and desire to defend his novel are greater than the need of his body to rest. And the only way to release his negative emotions is to write a new story. How could someone tell him what to write for the sake of money that it can possibly make? Is there anybody in the planet has the right to be in authority of what he should write?
Harold hates all of these — the controlling and stealing of his freedom to be true to what he believes in; insisting an act or belief that is contradicting to his values, and judging that he knows nothing in publishing.
“Am I stubborn?” He asked himself.
“I am not. I just know who I am, what I value and how I want to practice them in my life.” He answers his own question, nodding his head.
The rain is getting heavier outside. Its cold and sluggish vibe transported Harold to the timezone of his life that he considers ‘an experience of crossing a long-dark tunnel’. Nobody knew about this but only himself and God, and it was too dark there to see himself either. What he knew for sure then was that he’s still alive, have nothing, the air was not abundant but enough to stay alive. It was dark, lonely and hopeless, but for unknown reasons, he knew that he cannot choose to give up and just die.
When you are at the edge of the cliff, fighting for your life, you become a new person. He cannot forget what he’d gone through, inexplicably tough, but the important thing the tunnel of depression did is the person who he is today. He overcame, knew himself and proved his bravery, then everything came back to life again carrying his own unique sense of values and ways. And to him, everything has a meaning, most especially in his writings.
Harold has nothing against the idea of sex. His instinct will tell him if a story needs a sensual spot on the pages of his manuscript, and he will write them down without hesitations. But he is quite sure that the novel is good enough and can make good sales even without blabbing sex scenarios. Even before he started writing the story, his intentions and how he will write it were clear, and he will fight this one thing that he truly owns — his highest expression of authentic creativity.
How could he let anyone interfere in the flow of inspiration that he had for that story?
He immediately shifts from writing a supposed new story to drafting an email addressed to Mr. Joe, the editor-in-chief.
Writing is my only and ultimate ally to live freely. What I had put in my novel are reflections of my soul. Perhaps, it would be really good if I earn impressive amount of money from writing, but I do not write for the sake of fame and good fortune. The stories I write are echos of who I am today that I strived to rebuild when I almost lost everything.
I may be stubborn to your eyes, but you don’t know what happened in my life before we met. You only know me as a writer, and I know so little about you as well. You are a publisher who is just trying to do the business that way you know how it works. You don’t have to convince me what readers want from a book because you’ve already witnessed that many times from your past publications. And I believe that my book will sell if I do what you want. But what’s the point of success if I am not true to my soul?
I don’t want to change your mind. But I cannot do what you instructed either. I can only do one thing… and that is to be true and free. If I go after pleasing my readers, how can I be honest with myself?
I know that my novel is worth reading and time will come that it will find its way to people who are meant to read them. Unfortunately, it is not through you.
Thank you for considering my work but I cannot let you publish it.
With much respect,
“I will meet the right publisher at the right time. I am sure of that.” He told himself as he shuts down his computer.
It's a long rainy night, he realized. His anger and frustration had disappeared as if sending that email took them away. Finally, a desire to sleep came to his awareness, he turned to his bed, and shut his eyes.
The sun and the bright blue skies are on sight the next morning. Paved roads are still wet but the emerging heat of the sun will dry them up before noontime. A loud ring from his mobile phone woke Harold up. Half asleep, he reached for the phone and pressed the button without checking who is on the other line.
“Harold, I read your email. And I know someone who can publish your work that will allow you to be true and free. Maybe you cannot work with me but I know you can work with this person the way you want to turn things out. Are you interested?”
It is the editor-in-chief. Without thinking too much, he immediately agrees.
A year after his last conversation with Mr. Joe, Harold’s name is all over the news. He made it to the top bestselling author of the year. People talk about his debut novel and are asking for more. His current publisher prepared an evening victory party wherein other publishers and resident writers are invited to celebrate.
Before setting his car into ignition, Harold took a final glance on the stuff that is sitting on the front seat next to him — the hardbound copy of his best-selling novel. He is still in disbelief that he is driving himself to his own victory party. In his heart, he wanted this. Who wouldn’t? But never he imagined that it can actually happen to him. He just wants to write, write and write…truly and freely, and whatever comes after it is destiny.
After twenty minutes of driving, he reached the celebration hall. Though a bit nervous, he snatched the copy of his book and motioned his way out of the car. He knew that Mr. Joe will be in the party. Not from afar, as he entered the hall, he saw the publisher he rejected to publish his work because he chose to stand for what he believes in.
“I am not sure if you already have the copy of my book, so I thought of giving you one. Thank you for referring me to someone you know who will believe in me.” Harold said to Mr. Joe, giving away a genuine smile.
Mr. Joe looked into his eyes and said, “I knew you will make it. I was the first person who read the manuscript. It’s just that we’re different. And a person who is brave enough to fight and protect what he believes in will surely find its way to where he is meant to be. Your bravery and faith put you here. Congratulations.”
Both of them gave each other a hug and a good pat on the back. The night is still long and the celebration is just about to begin.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Her mission in life is to write and help other aspiring writers make their dream writing projects happen.
She says, “There is a strong urge from the core of my soul that I have to let my thoughts, wisdom and stories out through a platform that is accessible by people all over the world.”
She is from Manila, Philippines.