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J. C. Laird.
Early in life I was drawn to books. I can admit that late at night my parents would find me awake and reading, despite their best attempts otherwise. I read anything, spreading from technology and travel, of magic and mythology, even horror and crime. I loved what stories represented: creating worlds, people, cultures, societies and more with nothing but the flair of their words or the depth of their description. I yearned to create a world of my own that could capture this, of what humanity represented, in both its best and worst lights. I feel that part of this love with reading, and by extension writing, stems from my visual impairment. Looking out at the world, I don’t see what others do. To them they can take in a mountain range with a single glance, but for me, I need to take time to absorb it. This, I feel, is where my creativity comes from. Writing brings the world to us, giving us the details enough to empower our imagination, and those slow moments of absorption meant my imagination would spiral on these seemingly innocuous landscapes.
I continued to read throughout my childhood. On occasion I would write, but they were never much beyond the rough plot and vague ideas. Eventually my daydreaming grew and my teenage years developed the scope of what I would read, landing me in urban and high fantasy. Discovering these sects of literature, I began writing in a serious style before attending university. Despite my enthusiasm, I shelved my ambitions when my time became increasingly constrained by university life. Although I continued to read, the itch to explore worlds, cultures and people remained. Through my reading I developed my understanding on the creation and development of the relationships between characters and those who read their tale.
It was only during my Masters did I return my focus to writing once more. Writing became a way for me to relax, an escape and to unwind at the end of the day after lectures and studies whittled away at my energy. Yet, when I sat before my keyboard, I found that time would sweep by and the midnight hours soon became my companions as dormant ideas came flooding back to me.
Initially, I posted these tales online on free websites for aspiring authors, hoping that I could build something for myself. To my astonishment, I racked up thousands of readers, followers and supporters who pushed me through difficult times and celebrated joyous occasions with me.
Sadly, this success was a double-edged sword. The summer after my Masters completed, I discovered someone had taken my works from these websites and was selling it as their own, despite the copyright protection these websites afforded me. It was only with my involvement of legal procedures was the story returned to me, but my will to write had been shaken. I shied away from writing, becoming recluse and spending my time on smaller tales, unwilling to write something only for it to be stolen once again.
Beyond this I used my degree and travelled, leading me to China where I taught English, bringing my writing with me and contenting myself with keeping it as a hobby. That quickly changed when I found myself homeless and jobless, scraping by on the scraps off the tables of strangers, sleeping in parks and under the benches I could find. Without access to money and without a job, I used writing to keep myself alive. From this my ‘on-and-off-again’ hobby became my career. I would write to stay in hostels, and the hostels gave me the internet to spread my ideas on. I survived my ordeal, grew from it and came home more determined than ever to make something of myself. After all, if I could survive that level of misfortune, I shouldn’t give up on my dream of writing.
And that, good reader, is what brings me to the here and now. I love writing, I love creating, and most of all, I love the continued support of my fans. I would never have thought myself creative enough nor determined enough to bring my ideas to the world at large. To the supporters and detractors alike, I say thank you. Without you all I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I will leave you with this: One life, one chance, no regrets.
James Crawford Laird