The Citadel of Dreams

“When you start, the world of publishing seems like a great cathedral citadel of talent, resisting attempts to let you inside. It isn’t like that at all… there’s a great, empty warehouse out there looking for simple talent.”
Alan Garner

When you start out on the writer’s journey the citadel seems daunting indeed. The path to the front door is hard, long and twisted. It may even be overgrown with thorns and weeds in places. Finally you reach the main – the only – door. It appears heavy, solid and securely locked. The windows are too high to climb through. There is no-one there to open for you. You keep knocking; hollow echoes within are the only result.

You sit down on a nearby rock. Should you return home? The only path open seems to be to go back and pick up the pieces of your old profession. As your sinking heart realises this unpalateable truth, you reach into your bag and fondle the bundle of paper sheets. Your much loved, carefully crafted poems, those stories born from your innermost passions, that novel chiselled out of life’s hardships; are they just items destined to be dust gatherers?

Underneath the many papers you find, at the very bottom of your travel bag, a long forgotten book. Torn, dirty pages and a tattered cover. Loose leaves, food and drink stains and the odd crumb. The title is faded but you know what it says: “The Citadel of Dreams: how to become a writer.”

This much loved book was your constant companion for many years as you honed your craft. You followed the instructions to the letter. Strange then that, as you turn the pages, you realise that you had neglected the final pages. As you read the final paragraphs you are aware that you haven’t completely followed the last instruction:

“Persevere: even the strongest door eventually gives way to those who keep on knocking.”

You turn again to that rock solid door… and knock.

And that mighty door swings gently on its hinges… and you enter.


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