Like most people (because there are always exceptions) I was born with two hemispheres that made up one entire brain. The one on the left, we’ll call him Lang, was bestowed with great technical prowess and a desire to fix things. The one on the right, we’ll call him Ren, was given a love of all things beautiful and a rather ridiculous sense of humor. Lang and Ren began life on equal footing, or at least, with equal control over a single foot that they understood was attached somewhere downhill of their single round room inside my cranium.
They weren’t terribly good at sharing or cooperating with one another. To the general passerby this was obvious in my lack of coordination and regular stumbling. When attempting something as benign as dancing the two would constantly argue over who was in charge. Ren wanted to be goofy and off the beat, whereas Lang would follow the rhythm, recall proper dance steps, and count aloud. Due to their inability to operate together, this left me with two “left” or two “right” feet at any given moment. Dancing would always be a touchy subject.
Over time, Lang grew frustrated with Ren’s antics. Ren wasn’t so much fearless as he was clueless, running head first into some of the craziest, dumbest, and most insane moments imaginable (and Lang was very good at imagining all possible scenarios). Each and every time they went with Ren’s ideas it inevitably ended in pain, heartbreak, embarrassment, or all of the above. Always followed by crying, bouts of healing, and then, just when things seemed to calm down, Ren would shout, “let’s do it again!” One certainly had to feel for Lang’s predicament.
The two began really duking it out during my postsecondary education. Lang dreamt of becoming a computer scientist while Ren wanted to go into creative writing. After a far too long stint of fighting and extraneous college credits (and tuition), they came to an agreement: the English program would be fine so long as it involved technical writing and none of that touchy feely nonsensical scribbling that Ren wanted to spend his time doodling.
Lang was an expert at calculating and maneuvering. He already knew how he would manipulate the situation to his favor. You see, the world at large doesn’t exactly value writers, at least not monetarily, and certainly not more than those with technical savvy. Lang knew this, and he knew that Ren, on some deep level, knew it as well. A man’s gotta eat, so when an offer for a Systems Engineer job came my way Lang jumped at the chance before Ren could even think about it. Technical writing, along with past experience and some up-to-date skills, made me a shoe-in for the position. Lang was ecstatic. Ren resigned himself to our fate.
The next several years weren’t always so bad. Once in a great while Ren would wake up and take us on an outing. I appreciated the sunshine, which was a stark contrast to my windowless closet with a computer in it. Lang spent long hours programming, solving complex puzzles and fixing things. Sunshine wasn’t a necessity. And really, neither was Ren. We settled in for the long haul and put Ren on minimal life support.
I don’t think it happened all at once. Or maybe it did. I specifically remember laying in bed, no longer sure if I was asleep, awake, or somewhere in-between. As I had been for a while, I was programming for whatever I was working on at my job. Not at a computer, not with a keyboard, just in my mind. Lang didn’t stop anymore. Even after my head hit the pillow he kept running at full steam, solving and fixing whatever he came up with. Not his fault. He was doing what he was made to do. But that’s when the realization hit me – I wasn’t dreaming anymore. Awake, asleep, it didn’t matter. No more dreams. No more wishes. No more fantasies of space ships, super heroes, alternate dimensions, or adventures. They had all vanished.
Lang halted in mid-equation. What had happened? He never meant to be a monster or to be so selfish. He sent some synaptic pulses towards Ren to wake him up. There was no reply. My heart fell. He began to yell (in the way that brains do) and scream to make Ren come to, but nothing happened. Still retaining the logical side of my brain, I knew Ren couldn’t have gone anywhere. The only explanation was that he had atrophied into a lump of unusable gray matter.
For perhaps the first time ever I realized we needed Ren. He was our joy. The crazy but happy one. The idiot that brought a smile not only to my face but to those around me as well. And now that he was gone I was panicking. I desperately wanted him back.
I wasn’t sure what to do. The only thing I could think of was to act like Ren would, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Lang was terrible at Ren things. I sat down at a computer, and rather than load up my usual developer software, I opened a word processor. We needed an adventure. A big adventure. One that could bring Ren back from the brink. Though without him to help us it quickly became a mess. I must have started over a dozen times. Lang did well outlining and organizing the chapters. Our training in technical writing (the land where grammar was meant to be forgotten) didn’t help much, but at least it gave us access to our old Chicago Manual of Style. We were armed for battle. Suited up and donning our underwear over our pants like true superheroes! Never again would Ren be neglected as he had been. We were on a mission to save him and failure was not an option!
Chapter by chapter we went. Hell, who am I kidding? It was paragraph by paragraph. Write three, delete two, then start again. Fingers bled. Tears were drawn in frustration. Eyes were rolled all throughout the kingdom of my household. All until the day that Ren, at long last, woke up. Lang was beside himself (because that’s how hemispheres are situated after all). Ren was weak and tired. A mere shadow of what he had once been. We were so excited to show him what we had been working on. It wasn’t pretty, unless you count “pretty embarrassing.” It was rough and lacked feeling, as well as many other necessary traits. Honestly, I considered it a downright disappointment. And that’s when Lang got really quiet. Ren had something he wanted to say, so we focused ourselves to hear his fragile and raspy voice whisper to us… “let’s do it again!”
So here we are! I actually wrote a book. It’s a long story (not the book), but I steered clear of trying to get it published. Lang and Ren are back to their old fighting selves and I still find that we lean towards technical contract work, though now it’s only on a part time basis. The rest of my time is spent being a dad, a husband, a friend, and nurturing Ren back to health.
It was actually Lang’s logic that came to our most recent realization that, “if a book is written but never read, does it actually exist?” We unanimously answered “no.” And that’s the point of this website. I’m going to start releasing the chapters of my book for anyone who cares to read it. I make no claim of it being well written or of literary value. It is however free of charge (I still retain the copyright, so please don’t duplicate or claim it as your own). If you enjoy it, please consider donating.
When I’m done reformatting and posting the final chapter for the web (you can thank Lang for our ability to do that) then who knows?! I can already hear Ren revving up to shout his favorite line, “let’s do it again!”
Click here to browse my available works and enjoy!