Rabu, Mei 17, 2006

Write now...

I really don't want to sit here giving you my life story. It's boring and too long for me to write or for you to sit and have time to read. Anyway, with my writing... it's just seemed like one thing after another and I have no one to give me input on any of it since I, quite literally come from a family of mathmagicians, all very concrete thinkers(but not imagineers). My question is this: When do you just give up? I don't want to but it seems like the only logical thing to do when you're so down and incredibly frustrated about stuff. I'm so tired and pressured with being deemed a failure before. The one year I was actually able to give up the things I like was the most miserable year of my life. I know you're busy and I really don't expect you to answer this conundrum. I just thought it might be nice to talk to someone out here in the open who might just be able to understand, even if --- AT THIS POINT --- I'm just sending a message out into the ether.

As for giving up, well... sure, if I want to do it again. Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins. It has no job security of any kind, and depends mostly on whether or not you can, like a that story-teller from Arabian Nights(1001 Malam): tell the stories each night that'll keep the king alive until tomorrow. There are undoubtedly hundreds of easier, less stressful, more straightforward jobs in the world. Personally, I can't think of anything else I'd rather do, but that's me.

If you want to be a writer, WRITE. You may have to get a day job to keep body and soul together (I cheated, and got a writing job, or lots of them, to feed me and pay the rent and bills). If you aren't going to be a writer, then go and be something else. It's not a god-given calling. There's nothing holy or magic about it. It's a craft that mostly involves a lot of work, most of it spent sitting making stuff up and writing it down, and trying to make what you have made up and written down somehow better.

I think for me the tipping point was when I was a very young man. It was late at night, and I was lying in bed and I thought... as I do oftenly thought, "I could be a writer. It's what I want to be. I think it's what I am." And then I imagined myself in my older-days, possibly even on my deathbed, thinking that same thought, in a life when I'd never written anything. And I'd be an old man, with my life behind me, still telling myself I was really a writer --- and I would never know if I was kidding myself or not.

So, I thought it might be better to go off and be a writer, even if what I learned from the experience was that I wasn't a writer. At least that way, I'd know.

It does help to be a writer, to have the sort of crazed ego that doesn't allow for failure. The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering, "Okay! You bastards. Try rejecting this!!!" and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there's nothing left to write. Because the rejection slips will arrive. And, if the books or magazines or comics are published, then you can pretty much guarantee that bad reviews will be as well. And you'll need to learn how to shrug and keep going. Or you stop, and get a real job.

...and that WILL be the day.


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