6.2 It's a Physical Thing

Excuse me for getting a bit serious here and teary-eyed here, but something kinda cool happened earlier today. I didn’t think it would hit me as hard, but it did. Don’t worry, it’s not a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So, if you don’t know by now, I’ve written this little book called The Walking Man. It hasn’t even come out yet and I’m already feeling like people are really tired of me talking about it. During the publishing process, there are many small things along the way that bring you incrementally closer to getting the book out there. I’ll be honest and say I lost my shit a few times. It seems simple right - just write the goddamn book, get it published, distribute it and have people buy tons of copies.

The enormity of this process really didn’t hit home until four boxes arrived at my office earlier today. We ripped them open and piled in those boxes was the final printed version of The Walking Man. Like a book, an actual physical thing that said ‘A novel by Paul Dore’ on the front. Insane. Do you have any idea just how insane I believe that to be?

Something happened when I held that book in my hand. I acted like it wasn’t a big deal while there were others around. I actually went back to my office later in the evening to just sit with those boxes. It was a big deal. There was something about having the physical thing in my hand that hit me. All the time, energy, effort, pain and work. Years. Places. The story started in Amman, Jordan, through Cuba and New York and is ending at the Centre for Social Innovation on February 4th. Maybe not the end, but just the beginning?

After lugging all those boxes of books home, I went back through my notes. Went back through over ten drafts of the novel to find when this whole thing started. From what I could put together, I started officially calling this a book in as early as 2008. Seven fucking years ago. Amazing. Something about the story must’ve kept me going, kept me interested.

To me, this is now a physical document that represents a specific period of my life. With most of the work I’ve done, whether films or other pieces of writing, I tend to dismiss it after it gets out there. I’ve always believed that this was the hallmark of a good creative person. The ability to continually strive for more evolution in your work. But does this mean you have to dismiss what has come before? When I held the book in my hand, I felt this wasn’t true anymore. There is room, for a little while anyway, to be proud of an accomplishment such as this. I feel it’s a truthful document and perhaps the first thing I’ve put out there that feels like a real thing.

The book represents something else. I’ve come farther than I ever have before. You see, I’m good at putting in all the work, at making stuff. I’m bad trying to get in front of people. When it gets to the end, when it’s time to put it out there, I pull back. I dismiss myself and my work. In my actions and attitude, the interpretation is, “Hey, it’s not very good, I wouldn’t read it or watch it.” What the hell is that? Isn’t a book written for people to read? A movie made for people to watch it?

I think my attitude has changed because of the amount of work that I put into this. A couple of months ago, I performed at a storytelling event in front of a different kind of audience then I’m used to. I panicked, felt I should change the story for the audience. Then I thought, no, wait, trust in the story, trust in the words, bring the audience to you. And it worked. And I learned a great lesson.

A good story can’t be denied. Especially when it’s now something you’re actually holding in your hands. Something that came out of you from your heart.