As I continue down the path of Novel Creation, I continue down the path of building relationships. Which relationships? The relationships between myself and the characters I’ve both created, and become somewhat emotionally attached to.

I discovered my love of books at a young age. Somewhere around the sixth grade, a good friend of mine suggested a couple of books. Those two books, The Fellowship of The Ring, and Conan The Barbarian started something fantastic! Within a few years, I had purchased and read every J.R.R. Tolkien and Conan book on the Market. That was only the beginning of course, and I went on to become a devoted reader of Stephen King, Robert McCammon, and so many others.

I must say that these days I hold writing above reading, although the first is a dependency of the second. I must also say that nothing has changed, and I have continued to fall for one or more women. The experience of creating a person, yes a woman, a woman just the way I would like her to be, has been life-changing. I’ll explain. You see, it’s all just self-expressive therapy, both the entire book and the characters that live inside of it. It’s in this way the healing takes place.

Fortunately, I’m not a dee-dee-dee, and I realize that I can’t have a [real] relationship with a woman that I have created and placed within the confines of my novel. That being said, I’m still maintaining complete abstinence from relationships and the benefits of such, and yes that includes exactly what you’re thinking of. I’ll be on probation for another eight months, and all of my attention must remain right where it is, on myself, and my ongoing sobriety. Fortunately [again], there is only one woman that I know who interests me, and I have no reason to believe that I interest her, and that’s probably a good thing. The only frustration? I’m constantly [without trying] scrolling across her picture on social media. I’ve always been very good at putting the friendship first, and not acting on any physical attraction.

Well, I’ve said a lot more than I planned to say. Once again, self-expressive therapy!

Joseph Shanklin

November 27, 2019

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