September 28, 2015
Ignition: How I Went Professional - Bruce Atchison
In the cold wind of freedom, once my exile ended, my stories hid shivering in my heart. Inspiration went dormant as the struggles of public school and work ensued unabated. Nevertheless, a spark of my childhood fascination with the craft of storytelling survived deep within me.
Though I wrote on an amateur basis, I never dreamt I could be paid for my scribbling's. My abundant supply of articles appeared in fan "zines" but payment seemed a total fantasy. Practicality held my muse prisoner so I only wrote CD reviews of electronic music albums and recycling tips for the work newsletter. Those utilitarian tear sheets bolstered my pride but remuneration seemed an impossible dream.
Out of the smoldering ruins of a lay off, I received a golden opportunity. The work counselor asked me about my hobbies. On the next visit, I presented him with a small stack of my photocopied tear sheets. Then he fanned my creative spark by telling me I could go professional. What had I to lose?
Certainly the magazine writing course helped me understand the value of my work but many editors rejected my fledgling prose. Then, of all publications, The New Age Journal purchased a Three-hundred-word article about a newly-formed choir of blind singers in Edmonton. I glided on air as I took that fifteen-dollar cheque to my bank. At long last, I became a professional writer.
But the path grew steep and rocky as I struggled to research magazine content and to write catchy query letters. I obeyed all the commandments of my teacher, yet few rewards arrived in my mail box for my arduous labours. In the swamp of despondency, I changed directions in the hope that the trail would grow verdant with remuneration.
So I mined the treasures of my life after taking an online course on autobiography writing. Realizing my extensive manuscript was far too cumbersome, I divided it into memoirs. When a Man Loves a Rabbit was my first paperback. More than 200 bunny-loving friends purchased it and reported how much they enjoyed the amusing tales of my long-eared companions.
Success soon eluded me. Deliverance from Jericho was my second memoir. It bombed horribly. The sighted world couldn't relate to my narrative of being in a school for the blind for six painful years. So I racked my brain for a profitable and engaging topic on which to write.
How I Was Razed should have been a hit. I presumed Christians would be interested in how God led me out of a cultic house church to the sunlit land of his truth but few bought it.
So I turned my back on memoirs. God willing, I will write about who goes to heaven from the viewpoint of the Bible. I also hope to unleash those restless short stories pacing the back corridors of my mind. Slowly approaching retirement, my fear of being cut off from the pension I slaved so hard for is lessening. Even so, I'm learning to trust in the heavenly Father and to deal with today's evil. May my Lord be glorified by the work of my hands and this labourer be worthy of his hire.