I’ve done this before. I started a blog called Real Live Preacher back in 2002. I wanted to write the truth as I understood it. I think I began that way at least. People started telling me I was a good writer, which of course I loved to hear. Weird how something so small and nice can start you down a bad path. In time the role of RLP became just about as constricting as, well, being a real live preacher was.
I don’t know when it happened but it all got kind of spoiled for me. In the end writing was just working. Writing and hoping maybe you could figure out some way to make a living doing it.
I swear money can spoil anything. I don’t mean that I ever made much money writing. I hardly made any. But just thinking of writing in that way can ruin it. Thinking about what people might like to read or what kind of book they might want to buy. It’s the same kind of poison as thinking what kind of sermon church people might want to hear. So they might like you and compliment you and tell you you’re a good preacher and keep paying you so you can feed your kids.
Just ugly shit like that.
In 2009 I started unraveling. I knew I wasn’t going to make it much longer. One day I was standing up front on Sunday doing the whole preacher thing, trying to be true to the scriptures and true to myself at the same time. (That’s a helluva trick, let me tell you!) And then suddenly I felt like I would die if I had to do that anymore. So I quit.
Not long after, Real Live Preacher became ugly to me. I didn’t even want to look at the site. So I quit that too.
That was two hard as hell divorces in the same year. I lost my salary when I quit the church. Now I’m scrambling around, trying to make money at my trade, like a cobbler at his bench. But it’s good honest work. And it doesn’t ruin your religion or your writing.
I don’t know what I lost when RLP died. Something big though. Something I haven’t yet named. But they both had to die. So okay. Done.
What am I gonna do now?
I don’t know. This blog is like an open road. It’s like my dream to cut every tie and take out on the highway someday.
I might go anywhere with this. I might write four things and be done.
I’ll start by publishing the latest draft of my personal writer’s manifesto. Been working it over in my mind and on paper since the day I quit RLP. I’d kind of like to see what you think about it. Look for it in a few days.
I hope I’ll have the guts to live by it.