PASSION

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    BACKGROUND

In July 2009, I lost my job. I was an actor in Los Angeles making his living outside his craft like so many others. I was a salesman.

My roommate had moved out in February 2009, and I had already been bearing the full expense of a large home for several months. Although I did make quite a strong effort to get a new roommate, the house was up for sale, and the housing market was shit, and no one wanted to move into an old house where they could not be certain they could remain.

By October 2009, I could no longer afford housing at all and had to give up my home of 11 years.

I was homeless.

Like approximately 23 million other Americans, I was left devastated by the Great Recession. My savings, my assets, my personal property, and my retirement were all liquidated and soon gone. It seemed as if my future and life had both been taken from me.

I spent the next 6 months living in the home of close friends during the fatal illness of one of their parents. Soon, those friends directly experienced some of the financial, emotional, and psychological trials of unemployment. I am happy to say they did not lose their home and are employed again.

Thereafter, I moved into the home of my retired father in San Diego. I had lived in Los Angeles for 26 years. When my father sold his condo and bought a home in the low desert of Southern California, I went with him. As a kid I lived in the high desert. At 18 years of age, I graduated high school, moved to big city living, and swore I would never step foot in a desert again let alone live in one. I have no love for sand, rock, weeds, howling winds, blistering sun, and frosty winter. Nor am I a fan of the lowbrow, conservative kind of thinking that predominates many desert communities. But here I am. Life is full of irony.

Although I have multiple degrees with straight A’s both in the sciences and humanities, and although those degrees come from ivy league and other such high caliber institutions, and although I am held in very high esteem by former employers and supervisors and colleagues, and although I am well liked and respected, and although I am a man of very high integrity and skill, despite all this, I have been unable to get more than 3 job interviews in the past 3.5 years.

Unemployment ran out in 2011. It is now 2013. I am still unemployed.

I am not on welfare. I am not on social security.

The only subsistence I receive is $200 worth of Food Stamps every month — which does not cover a month’s worth of food and does not pay for toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, or underarm deodorant. Is there any wonder the bum on the street stinks?

There is no food bank in the area.

Only the kindness of family and friends keeps me going.

I laugh bitterly when any politician talks about the quality and reliability and completeness of our “safety net.” At the same time, I am incredibly grateful for what little there is. Believe me, I am very grateful for the assistance given. However, it is far from complete or reliable or even satisfactory.

I write none of this seeking sympathy or assistance. I write this only to state the conditions under which I exist and from which my novel originates.

People are starving in America. People are suffering.

As any individual would be in a situation such as mine, I have been depressed.

To survive psychologically, I needed to find a way to deal with that depression and to satisfy the needs of my mind.

I felt as if my life was over, and I verged closely upon suicide.

    THE BOOK

I have written since I was six years old. It is a part of my artistic nature.

An artist is simply someone who strives to express themselves. That expression may be an emotion, a viewpoint, a conclusion, or a question, or any combination thereof. The medium in which the artists chooses to express himself or herself determines the category of the artist–whether it be novelist, painter, musician, actor, dancer, poet, etc. However, the nature of an artist is in common no matter the specific discipline(s) in which any given artist works.

I am first, foremost, and fundamentally an artist. The term defines me; and I define the term.

Writing is one of several media in which I work.

I do not know how to describe where writing fits into my life. An artist is who I am. No more than anyone else, I cannot deny myself.

I write, because I must. I act, because I must. I breathe, because I must. There is no choice in it. Yes, there can be pleasure in the act, but pleasure is not always there nor is it the motivating factor.

Although I do enjoy the final product when I write, and there are times in the process of writing (particularly in the refinement of expression) that I derive pleasure, writing is often a task most akin to an arduous workout at the gym. I don’t particularly enjoy doing it, it is often painful, but I feel so much better afterwards. In the end, I enjoy the results, and I have something to show for my efforts.

If I don’t do it, then I feel ill.

Writing is a release.

I have written many screenplays, teleplays, and even published poetry. I stopped writing prose in my early 20’s, but otherwise have continued writing to this day. I am now 53 years of age.

I made it a vow that one day I would write at least one if not a slew of novels.

In 2010, after moving in with my father. I decided it was time to write my first novel. I needed the release, I had the time, and I felt I better get it done now as I literally felt that I was dying and so would not be around much longer. The world simply did not want me and was crushing the life out of me. I am not entirely convinced that isn’t true. I wanted to leave something behind for my son. All else had been taken from me. I wanted to leave a legacy.

I have written drama, comedy, romance, horror, and science fiction. But I had never written fantasy. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, but I’ve just never tried to pen anything in that particular genre.

As I badly needed escape, I decided my first novel would be a fantasy.

Little did I realize that it would not be a single book I would write, but rather the first 3 volumes of an epic series.

Since his birth, I have had it in mind that one day I would write something for my son.

There is no book where the “truths” of life and the universe and reality and human interaction and so on and so forth are all written down. I am foolish enough to believe that my observations and conclusions are valuable and enlightening. I thought that one day I would compile my aphorisms and list them in a “coffee table” style book intended for my son. Upon further thought, I soon recognized that my son would be bored by such a list and would never read it. My wisdom would die with me.

So, I decided to incorporate some of those observations and contemplations into a fantasy novel where they would be more palatable and thus carry more weight.

Although in everything I have written, I have always written a character for me to play, this is the first time I’ve written in a character who IS me (at least about 97.5%).

Whereas the book was intended to provide me with escape from a cruel reality, I kept finding that the “real” world intruded into my narrative and into the characters I created. I fought it at first, but then realized there was strength and value in just allowing the book to develop as it would and that a socially conscious fantasy could be very powerful and even unique.

So, the work became a fantasy with insights and questions regarding life as well as a reflection on modern society.

I am working on completing the rough draft to the third volume in the series. To date, the entire work is over 1875 pages long and over 525,000 words.

I will be shopping it in a few months.

It is a series of volumes from the journals of a master wizard. The first volumes deal with the wizard’s early years as an apprentice and how he came to be wizard.

This is where the passion began.

To find out more about Marc Royston and his latest novel, be sure to follow the Wizard’s Workshop.

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