I consider myself an aspiring author. I’ve written dozens upon dozens of short stories, a smattering of poems, and even have a handful of novel-length projects in the works. None of them, however, have been published (I did have a research thesis published, though). I like to think of the world I create in my head as unique, different, something special I can add to the world, make it better, or at least make it more interesting for some. I may never have the notoriety of Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and others, but I may be able to reach out to some.
But in all ways, whatever I write, whatever I manage to get down on paper and ink, it will pale in comparison to the greatest thing I have ever created (albeit with a little help). My little girl, my beautiful little daughter, is by far the greatest thing in this world that I have ever had, or will ever have, a hand in shaping. She’s beautiful and already full of personality. Her eyes are curious and searching, her hands gripping and reaching, her feet strong and kicking. Her hair is always changing color, from red to blond to brown and back. Her expressions are priceless and often have her mother and I in giggles.
But no explanation, no description, no analogy, no simile, nothing, could ever truly begin to describe her. A physical image is a simple enough thing to describe, sure, but there is such depth of meaning to the way she looks at me, the feelings I have when I see her, that I can’t explain.
Does that make me a bad writer, that I can’t describe a feeling or emotion? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say absolutely not. I believe that every author, every true author, knows what parts of the human psyche that can and cannot be explained. Courage, the absence of fear. Love, gushy feelings for someone. Hate, anger. Etcetera. But what is courage, what is fear, what is love or anger? An emotion far beyond words. We can relate them to something, but we cannot define them completely. We can explain cause and effect, but not the emotion itself.
When I see my daughter, small and helpless in this big world, I can’t help but want to pick her up and hold her, protect her from whatever lurks outside, keep her safe and healthy and happy. What is that emotion? Love? Sure. Some sort of guardianship? Most definitely. But that still doesn’t explain the emotion.
The only reason emotions work in literature is because the reader knows what it is.
They can’t explain it, either, but they know it when they feel it.
I created something that can’t be explained or described or defined. I created a life, a living human being who will experience all the emotions in the world, who will feel, talk, act, who will make an impact even if it’s only on a few.
My single greatest achievement, my greatest creation, is and always will be my children.