I won't kill you, but...
In 2014 an incredible thing happened to me and my family. In a dramatic turn of events, my work as a writer was discovered, and my career as a novelist skyrocketed. After twenty-five years of chasing it, my dream of being a world recognized storyteller came true. That succession of events literally changed my life, and since then doors have continued to open and opportunities have continued to present themselves.
Before I get too carried away, I'd like to stress that I'm responsible for doing the work. That was me. But that being said, I was also lucky enough to have several established mentors in the field reach down and lift me up high enough to be seen by some pretty big dogs. These friends/peers helped me get a leg up in an industry that is notoriously known for beating artists to a pulp.
Even now, today, several years later, I am humbled and grateful for all of those helping hands. You all know who you are, and if you don't, look in the backs of the books. I'm big on giving shout-outs.
Okay then, onward. Ever since day one of my journey into the great unknown, I have made it part of my everyday mission to pay my success and good fortune forward. I've blurbed unknown authors. I've given my time for free to organizations that help writers get better at what they do and have tried to help my contemporaries find work to support themselves. I've passed opportunities given to me on to other lesser known writers in order to give them that same shot at being discovered. I've offered the best advice I can to everyone and anyone who is currently standing where I once stood to help as many of them as I can achieve their own success.
I've even used my new found infamy to raise money for righteous causes that sometimes get overlooked. Causes that I've always believed in and only now possess the ability to help. I've done all this, and will continue to do so, not so I can call myself "a good guy" or gain anyone's respect. I have my wife and children's respect, and that's enough for me. No, my drive to help comes from my belief that in order to maintain and honor my own path forward, I OWE it to everyone coming up behind me to reach down and lift them up.
I'll say that again.
It's my DUTY as an established artist to REACH DOWN AND LIFT UP as many fellow artists as I can.
Now, I don't expect everyone to believe what I believe or to act as I act. Everyone is entitled to pursue their own dreams however they see fit. I hold no judgement over how anyone chooses to live their life or maintain their own livelihood.
I do hold fast to the right to distance myself from anyone who purposely keeps their foot on the neck of one our own in order to further their own established career. You know who you are, too. You don't need the back of a book to tell you.
I don't wish these folks any ill will. In fact, I wish them the best of luck in everything they do, but I can't in good faith be a part of their climb.
I will never engage in any negativity, here or anywhere else, toward anyone that refuses to see outside of their own career trajectory to help others just because I feel like I have to.
Anyone who creates art, writes stories, or uses their imagination to make the world more tolerable for the people that need it surely doesn't deserve any shit from me about how they do it.
So please, continue to write books, to make music, act, recite poetry, and paint pictures. You are vital and you are no less important than me or what I do.
Just don't expect me to be any part of it.
"I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you."
-The Dark Knight