Taking Risks

It seems fitting that my first post to this blog addresses why I'm writing a book. In Fall 2007, I began my second year at the University of British Columbia, certainly a little more world-wise than the year before. I then wrote the poem "Sheltered From the World" about a girl warning a rose not to open, for fear that the world would hurt it. Halfway through her cautionary speech, the girl realizes that avoiding risk meant the rose wouldn't really live:

"Sheltered From the World"

Dear rose,
I warn you now:
Stay closed,
Keep sheltered from the world.

The air
Is stale here,
Your bare
Shape would surely wilt.

But Flower,
Should you
From life, and its rough designs,

You’d miss
The moon,
And kiss
No dew that every morning finds.

-Honourable Mention in the 2007 UBC Terry Poetry Contest

Writing a book seems to me a fairly risky venture. I suppose a musician could blame a faulty instrument for a poor performance. A carpenter could blame his tools. Writers can only blame themselves, for every page is a product of their imagination. If I begin this story, I must finish it, if only to prove to everyone I told about it that I could actually complete what I claim to be capable of. But even if I finish... what if it isn't well-received? What if publishers reject the manuscript, again and again?

How nerve-wracking it is, to pour part of your soul into a manuscript and send it out into the world, hoping that the world falls in love with it—or at least doesn't laugh at you.

Why are we so afraid of failure? In the end, there is nothing to be gained from avoiding risk except cushioning an already tender self-esteem. Yes, I am suggesting that everyone has some area of weakness in their self-esteem. Why stay weak? We might as well toughen our skins.

In summary, I am choosing to take this risk. I had many doubts at the beginning, but now I have answers.

I am writing this story because it is a good thing to do. It is productive, life-giving, and (if you only take my word for it) the story is pretty darn good.

I'm writing this story because words have been special to me all my life.

I am writing this story because it is worth telling.