By Jo Manning

I feel like Sisyphus. My rock is invisible, but it is there. I push so hard, the way ahead is clear, there seem to be no obstacles, surely now I will succeed.

Unlike Sisyphus no one banished me to this hell. No, it was my own choosing, prompted by blind ego, assuming others would want to read my little story.

It’s not easy. I knock my head against a wall, I leave no stone unturned in my desire for success, and no clichés either. Disappointment overwhelms my hopes and dreams for a sort of immortality. Just a tiny sort. I do not ask for much.

Yes, I have published a book. Worse, I have self-published a book, a kiss of death I am told. The self-publishers did a fine job, the final book is beautifully designed, colourful. They even provide a marketing strategy, to help their clients succeed. The book is in bookstores. Very nice, but now, how to get people to buy it and to read it?

I wonder why I started on this path. I had no idea there would be this huge rock at the end. Surely the writing, research, networking, all the things an author does, would open doors to success. The hard part is over, isn’t it?

It is a large, heavy rock. When I try to sleep in the night it is there, waiting. I hold it firmly. If I let go, it will roll back, and I must begin again, like poor Sisyphus.

The book was so fulfilling to write. For years of mornings I poured a coffee, collected my notes, balanced my laptop, and set to. After a year or two I found an editor. As I finished a section I sent it to his laptop, and he did what editors do to make it more readable and informative.

Now I wonder what drives this creativity that has haunted my life. It is more than a desire to be remembered, to leave a trace of oneself behind. Some think creativity is a form of insanity, socially acceptable, but still crazy. The crazy artist.

I want to write. I can’t help it. Perhaps instead, it is an addiction and I am not totally cuckoo, just misguided, or hooked. If they had a pill for it I wouldn’t take it. I love this addiction. It has led me down pathways of bliss. I can tell others how it is to look far across a green grassy meadow, of the power of the sea crashing on the shore, or the wind. A photo can’t express this power, but with words I can try. I can tell what is in my heart.

Now I feel better. The rock is lighter but it is there. I will continue. As the Persian poet, Hafiz, said:

“What is this precious love and laughter, 

Budding in our hearts,

It is the glorious sound

Of a soul waking up”.