In the first Vertigo Preview of The Sandman, a man learns there is a third alternative. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Sandman.
“Fear of Falling”
Every day, I have to tell myself to keep going and to keep writing. Someone recently sent an Ask to my Tumblr account that was kind of frightening to answer, so I’ve ignored it since then. They asked, “How do you write and not question every word you’ve ever written?”
It stuck with me because it’s exactly what I do. I question everything that I am putting down to send out into the world, and it’s painful sometimes. I remember feeling utterly mortified the second I finished writing the review for the thirteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If you recall, that’s the day I found out exactly what kind of person Dolores Umbridge was. It triggered me so uniquely and terribly that I spent hours curled up in my bed, motionless, wondering how I could ever comment on such an atrocious person without talking about what it was like to be bullied by a counselor. How could people understand my fear of Umbridge? How could they ever get the fact that this story took me back to a time in my life where I gave up on everything, where I feared falling so much that I stopped climbing?
I knew I was taking a risk sharing such a personal story, but once I started putting the words down, it was hard to stop. Once I did get to the end, though, I sat still at my desk, staring at the words I’d just poured out before me. Finishing it wasn’t so hard, but could I share this with everyone? Was this something I wanted to tell other people? Once I did, I’d never be able to take it back. I’d never be able to control how people felt about it. I’d never be able to do a thing about what they did with it. I’d have to deal with the fact that people would look at me and know a part of my history I had never shared with a single person.
And that’s terrifying. Words are fucking scary, y’all. They have their own little lives in everyone’s head, and those lives are different for each person. So how do I write and not question every word I’ve written? I don’t. I always will. I cannot even count how many times I’ve just sat and read what I’ve written for my own novel, hating every word and phrase so intensely simply because I’m scared. What if someone hates that sentence? What if that phrase makes someone wince? But if Mark Does Stuff has taught me anything, it’s that I can hate the words I write, but I can also let them go. I can send them off into the world, and I can find comfort in that freedom. It is done. They are free. And every so often, I can feel joy that I’ve created something I genuinely like.
For me, that’s the third alternative. I can climb, I can fall, and every so often, I, like Todd, can fly.
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