I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Well, okay, I eventually did get to sleep at about 3:30 (and then three and a half hours later was dragging my daughter out of bed, but whatever). But I kept going back and forth over something that I’d seen.
People don’t seem to understand the problem conservatives like myself have with recent comments by the President of the United States that have been boiled down to four words: You Didn’t Build That. Don’t conservatives recognize the debt of gratitude they owe to the people who’ve gone before? Don’t they know that without those people, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish whatever it is they think they’re doing? How ungrateful, they tell themselves, shaking their heads.
What those people don’t recognize… what they have to concede if they really think about it… is the contribution of the man in the middle. What do I mean by that? Well, that’s what kept me up past three AM last night. Let me paint you a picture.
An… acquaintance of mine… is an author. He’s getting a good start, things are looking good. And he posted a picture of himself standing with two of his heroes. On his right, a NY Times bestselling author. Someone whose work I’ve read and enjoyed. Someone that if you’ve read fantasy over the last… thirty years…? you’d recognize the name. On his left, his English teacher. It’s a great picture. And he does owe those two people a debt of gratitude. Just like I owe one to the guy in the middle.
He’s one of my heroes, though I wonder sometimes if he’d be glad to hear it.
Whatever debt of gratitude he feels he owes the people around him, he has to realize (as does everyone else) that the NY Times bestseller didn’t write his books for him. He did that.
The English teacher didn’t take hours and days and months recording and editing and mastering audio files to promote and release his work. He did that.
Without the guy in the middle, books on my shelf and on my e-reader simply don’t exist. They’re figments of my imagination without that guy in the middle.
He’s paid the price for his success. I’ve seen him deal with personal tragedy that I am grateful to God that I haven’t had to go through personally. Things that made me get down on my knees and pray for him and his family. You can’t tell me that anyone could have done that, because I’ve watched this guy for years, and I know better. He’s inspired me to write my own stuff and release it via podcast as I am doing now.
If I had a picture like that, this guy would be one of the people in my picture. But he’s not putting his butt in my chair and his hands on my keyboard to write Battlehymn, or the Untitled Ghost Bear Project I Have Yet To Name. I have debts of my own. Battlehymn comes from all kinds of places – Macross Frontier, Spellsinger, the Book of Mormon…Untitled Ghost Bear Project owes debts to Shaman King, Pokémon, the Campbellian monomyth, deTocqueville’s Democracy in America… but at the end of the day, for better or worse, it’s me that’s got to attain a state of BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard) and make words happen. Because if I don’t build it… it don’t get built.