Guest Blogger: T.W. Clawson
Several years ago I was homeless, unemployed, nonplussed and depressed. Living an a small loft above a very (VERY) generous couple’s garage, I sat around trying to figure out what to do with my life. And while those were by far a couple of the worst years in my life, I nonetheless was born out of them a better man.
Three things happened almost simultaneously, seeds of things that have born great fruit and I pray will continue to do so.
The first was when My dad called me over to his house, to experiment at designing a few shirts for a MMA athletic clothing line. I will spend little time on this, but the fact is it made me realize how much I enjoyed graphic design. And I continued to design my own shirts since then. Starting a (terribly unsuccessful) clothing line, and then starting a shop that is doing kind of, slightly, some what… well.
Second was when I applied for a job at Fred Meyer in Canby, Oregon. Now when I say I applied, what I really mean is that I demanded a job. I had literally been out of work for about a year and a half (despite the one month I spent in a place that I can only describe as hell, so I don’t count that). If you have ever been out of work, then you will know how if feels when every single person you know only has one thing they talk to you about, and it’s always the same question, over and over and over.
Deb looked up and seemed a little deterred. “Hi Tyler,” she said getting out of her chair to shake my hand. “I’m so sorry, but I can’t seem to find your application anywhere in my stack. What was your last name?”
I laughed slightly. “Clawson, and it’s OK cause I don’t have an application in. I’m sorry about that.”
We both sat and I looked her directly in the eye as she started to calm down. “See, I wanted to speak with you before I put in the application online. I know for a fact that you’re hiring for Starbucks and I want to make sure you know who I am when I put in my name.”
Deb smiled a sly smile… an approving smile.
“Anyway, I just thought I would introduce myself and give you my resume and make sure you know that I will apply as quickly as I can.”
She told me to fill out the application, and then two days later called me in for an interview. I didn’t know it, but the day I walked in and demanded attention, an opening in the Electronics Department had arrived (a department I was much more capable of working, and my resume showed that). They interviewed me… Deb the HR lady, the Manager of the Department, and then a third interview with the Store Director all with in an hour. Then before I could walk out the front door of the store, they were calling my phone to offer me the job.
This was a win, and while I complain and have lost a lot of devotion to my job at Fred Meyer, I will never forget the fact that they saved me. This was the second thing to happen that started to turn my life around.
The third thing was this:
Five children were sitting in a field. They sat looking at the world around them from the peaceful grasslands of their grandmother’s backyard. It was ten acres of green grass and sporadic trees, with a narrow road driving down the side of the property and a small collection of maple trees mixed with firs, and some oddly colored trees that would forever be uncategorized following along the path. On the far side of the field an orchard of apple trees sprang to life, creating a home for wild animals. Their grandmother’s home sat behind them with a large tree off to the side, supporting a tire swing hanging down.
Now, at this (dark) time in my life, I knew I wanted to write comic books and movies and all that jazz. I have always been a dreamer and tried to tell stories. But I never wanted write a novel. It was too much, to big. It was work. But nothing was working out for me. Movies are expensive and I would have to start at the bottom. Graphic Novels require an artist, I have no illustration skills. But Novels would require only writing my ideas on a page.
I had even taken an old comic book that I had written and I began to add to it to turn it into a novel. Because I thought “I have already written most of it, now it won’t be to much work to adjust it a little.” So if I was going to write a book, then it was going to be the easy way. But then, as I was getting pretty far into it, I suddenly found myself without the flash drive that had stored the entire piece of work. I had literally lost my “novel” and would have to start over.
In a deep and dark depression one night, within my cave in the forest (my loft five miles outside the nearest town.) I wrote this small passage. Then I wrote an entire page. Then I had finished the chapter. Then the first act of the book, and soon things had started to come around. I moved back into town in a shitty mobile home, which I paid way to much rent for, I started fixing my car up and I started to have something close to a life.
I then finished the first draft of the book, and God provided an editor and people around me that helped me craft it a little more. And soon (though it really took a very long time) I had a finished book, that I was querying agents for representation. And that’s where I sit now.
There is one piece of this that I haven’t mentioned yet, because it’s something very special to me. My wife, Rebecca. Through everything, literally everything, she was there. Encouraging me, helping me, freeing me. Despite my terrible situation, she stuck it all through with me, on a promise that we might one day be wedded. If you have never had dark and terrible times, then it’s hard to explain how much the encouragement of another person is.
Even the one time I tried to break up with her, for her own good, she wouldn’t have it (we weren’t married at the time). I tried to give her a life without me, without my pain and hurt and darkness. And she refused to accept it, she wanted me for every thing I was. Dark parts and all. It’s a wonderful and moving thing to have in my life, a person who loves me like that.
And she does.
So (and I promise I’m almost done) when I started thinking about a small book I could write, to try and self-publish so as to get more attention, I had to think about what it was I wanted to write about. Naturally I thought about the wonderful and unbound love of my wife. And that’s what this book is. This is a book that tells the world of the love I have been given. It is a book that shows my wife, that I have seen her greatness, and it has inspired an entire book. This book was written for her, and inspired by her. She is my dream come true.
She is my Rebecca moon.
I released Rebecca Moon & The Boy in the Bottle January 21, 2016—my wife’s birthday. It is available on my website.
Starting today, January 23, I will begin posting one chapter at a time on Wattpad. Every Saturday, a new chapter will be available to read for free, and my blog will be updated with some fun background content to go along with the book. Almost like a book club, with the author. I hope to see you there.
Tyler Clawson is fascinated with storytelling in multiple areas, including film, visual arts, and other media. The ability to create worlds and bring emotion to the surface using the power of imagination captures his mind. On July 11, 2015, Tyler married the biggest nerd he had met, and she gave him the inspiration to pursue novel writing. As a challenge for National Novel Writing Month, Clawson wrote Rebecca Moon & The Boy in the Bottle. Tyler also has an online T-shirt shop, The Odd Empire, dedicated to producing “Nerdy Merch for Every Walk of Life.”