It was never Malachi’s intention to be a novelist, it just kind of happened. From early childhood Malachi loved to draw. When he entered college he majored in fine art: oil-painting, still life drawing, silk printing, sculpting, that sort of thing. He also performed on stage in several productions during high school and the last act of artistic expression of his young life came his first year in college where he accidentally performed onstage for one of the most prestigious drama departments in the country, the drama department of Southern Oregon State University (then Southern Oregon State College) in the southern Oregon town of Ashland, Oregon, famous for its Shakespearean festival.
His girlfriend at the time was a theater major, working her way up as a freshman inside the drama department’s equivalent of the stock room: the prop department.
Malachi was visiting her one day and decided to look around. While looking around, he wandered out onto the main stage. The two men in the audience stopped talking, looked up from their clipboards, and stared.
“I was just looking for the—” Malachi began.
“Do you believe in serendipity?” the director said in a half-whisper.
Malachi blocked the stage light that was blinding him and got a better look at the odd man with the odd question. “That depends. What does serendipity mean?”
Malachi was 18 years old and had a lot to learn about life, and a lot to learn about the English language. It wouldn’t be until after he transferred to Oberlin College and graduated in Politics that he would go to Korea and teach English for the next 15 years. So he had not yet appreciated the power of the word.
“It’s the belief that things happen for a reason,” the kind old gentleman explained.
“Kind of like divine intervention?” Malachi did not say, because he would not know what that word meant either, and also because serendipity was something else. It was something closer to coincidence.
“I don’t know,” Malachi said. “Why do you ask?”
The director and co-director exchanged looks, like they were talking to each other telepathically. “Should we do this? Yes, let’s do this.”
It turns out that at the moment Malachi wandered out onto the dust-filled stage, the two directors were in the middle of discussing what to do about one of their actors who had just quit. The part was for an aboriginal gawking at the European new comers to the continent of Australia in the play, Our Country’s Good.
Enter Malachi stage right, the closest thing that school had to an aboriginal. Serendipity.
But alas, Malachi was not fit for the stage. Despite the great couching of the director, they were forced to dub his lines while he stood there, the words playing over the speakers like they were his thoughts.
He had shot for the stars and landed on the moon.
But as Malachi transferred to Oberlin, studied politics, and worked as a teacher of English in Korea, the artistic bug that had grown in him since childhood, the one that had failed to find its commercial outlet, continued to eat at him.
In 2014, he decided to make a Youtube show about living in Korea, but he lacked the time, the energy, and the resources to turn his scripts into Youtube magic, and after one season, which garnered no recognition, he took a break.
Malachi was writing the next season’s scripts, along with articles to fill up his website with “content”, when he came to a decision. If he could actually compel his audience with good stories, maybe his show would be a success. But since he had never actually sat down to learn what makes a story, he had some studying to do.
Over the next year, as he read and studied as many books on story making as he could get his hands on, books aimed towards the novelist, a sinister thought wormed its way into his brain. A novelist doesn’t have to be in front of a camera or try to coerce his wife and friends into acting. A novelist doesn’t have to find locations, set up lights, spend hours upon hours editing footage, or exploit the cuteness of his son for a little bit of that Youtube famous.
Nor is a novelist constrained to limit his ideas to things physically possible like one is when writing a script that has to be turned into live action. And what is a novel anyway but a script with a few more details added in?
Malachi wasn’t a writer, obviously, based on that last sentiment, but Malachi had an ace up his sleeve. You see, Malachi had been preparing himself for this change for quite some time. He had been searching for something to fill the hole in his life left by giving up on his artistic dreams. It had been 20 years since he had given up his art major, and this yearning found a few odd forms of expression along the way. This included everything from self-help, to hypnosis, to comic book drawing, to web design, and even to what his students thought were excellent drawings illustrating vocabulary words during his class lessons. It even saw him listening to Eckhart Tolle.
The books on story that he was reading were geared towards the writer, but because of his search for self-improvement, becoming a writer didn’t seem that impossible. The novel, after all, is just another medium, like anything else, with its own brush strokes, its own camera angles, and its own vocabulary and methods. Perhaps his ideas could find expression in words.
This is only the beginning of Malachi’s journey. He knows he will get better, and he’s working hard every day to arrive at that day. But like with anything, it depends on the market, it depends on you. The final ingredient for becoming a writer is to make enough money to pay the bills. And for that, you must decide. This is Malachi’s first novel, and he hopes that you like it enough to not make it his last.
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