I feel like I’ve arrived at a junction. A crossroads. At least as far as Loco in Yokohama is concerned.
Writing is a pursuit which fills me with adrenalin. Sitting at a keyboard, looking at my words, my thoughts, my feelings filling in the empty field of white does it for me. This is something I can see myself doing happily for the rest of my life. I feel lucky to have found a vocation that gives me such a sense of purpose, of fulfillment.
It was a long time coming, but it has finally arrived.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and reflection as a result of this momentous occasion. Over a celebratory bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon last night I asked myself: What is the future of Loco? Though Loco is only two years old, like canine, if you measure that in human years, and considering how much living Loco in Yokohama has done over the past two years, that would make Loco an adult, I think.
In other words, time to stop fucking around!
Not to imply that the past two years (or eight years if you count my entire tenure in Japan) have been all fun and games. If you read my work, you know they certainly have not. Loco has grown up quickly mostly due to the intensity and challenge of my life here in Kawaiiland. I’m thankful for that, now. All the beauty and all the bullshit I’ve enjoyed, endured and shared with you guys via Loco in Yokohama has in a way accelerated the maturation process . Of course there’s still a ways to go before I can say I’ve fully come into my own, but keeping this blog has set me on a path.
But a path leading where?
As a writer I have essentially been using this blog to exhibit my talent and creativity and test my own endurance, physically, mentally and emotionally. And I’ve been using you guys, my readers, to keep me responsible, feeding off of your readership and feedback to give me the motivation and discipline a writer needs to sit at a keyboard day after night after day and hammer away at the keys. Also, I’ve been using you as a sort of sample group, a cross-section of the international “marketplace”. I know the word “using” sounds kind of harsh. Sorry for that. But, I needed to know if my agent had it right, or were those publishers who politely but unanimously rejected me on to something. I needed to feel confident enough to throw my hat back into the ring. I needed to find the self-motivation and self-discipline to do this thing whether or not I had you guys to bounce my thoughts off of. I needed to make sure that next time around, I wouldn’t let a rejection letter (actually a dozen) break my spirit and rob me of my belief in myself.
Well, I’ll say Loco in Yokohama (and you guys) have served your purpose. And then some.
Now, it’s time to get back in the game, so to speak.
The Japan Writer’s Conference I attended last weekend reminded me of a number of significant points.
Firstly, that there are a great many writers at this junction with me.
Secondly, that there are a number of ways to reach the next junction, writing talent, desire and diligence only being part of it. Stuff like submission, sucking up rejection, managing criticism without letting yourself get too full of yourself or down on yourself, networking- making and maintaining contacts, marketing and promoting your work, etc, etc…
Thirdly, that I’m no genius but I definitely got something! I am a voice to be reckoned with, a voice that readers can relate to, like even-dare I say-love to read. I have an audience and the potential to increase it. I do have something to say and an ability to say it well (at least in print.) And, I have the potential to say something extraordinary- even if it’s unintentionally (-; (Some of the best things in life are, after all)
And last but not least… if I want to do this for a living then I need to believe, like I believe in my mother’s sanctity, like I believe in Human Rights, like I believe in a Higher Power, that I should be getting paid for this!
So, yeah, I’m at crucial juncture in my writing career just now.
You can expect some changes and some new projects in the near future, is what I’m saying. What they will be, I can’t say just now, but I have a few ideas that have been bouncing around my skull for a while, and I think it’s high time I set them free. I also have been approached by a few associates who have some interesting ideas.
Will Loco in Yokohama abruptly cease to be? Can’t answer that, either.
I’ll say this much, though: my motivation for writing about things related to Japan, as you may or may not have noticed, is dwindling.
I don’t know why…not for certain. There are a number of contributing factors, I suppose. One being it’s really limiting…or at least I’ve allowed it to become so. While I used to look around me and see things dying to be written about- whether it be my kids, co-workers, the assholes that abound, interesting / exotic sights and sounds or what have you- now all I see is well chartered territory, things I feel a need to ignore (for my own creative well-being) and other foolishness that just doesn’t pump my nads like it used to.
I envy those writers here who have found a niche (or a bottom-less well of inspiration) here. Writers like Our Man in Abiko, Michael John Grist, Green Eyed Geisha, and the mountain conqueror- formerly of these parts- known as I, CJW, and others whose writing I have admired.
Me? I have no niche here, and my well is, well, not what it used to be.
It may be connected with what compelled me to start the “…I am a racist” series. I hope not, but it’s a possibility.
A strong one.
So, in conclusion, I want you guys to know that Loco (but perhaps under another name-or even my real name) will without a doubt continue producing the best writing I’m capable of. But I honestly can’t say if Japan will be on the menu at all. There are so many other things I feel I am qualified to write about, you know?
Nothing has been decided, yet. Just thought I’d give y’all the heads up. Any thoughts or concerns or words of support or encouragement are of course welcomed.
I hope you guys will hang in there with me during this transitional period. I have every confidence that if you’re here at Loco in Yokohama to hear what I have to say, then you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be glad you did.
And so will I.