Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Am Stronger Than Professionalism

This is just a little gripe, a horrible bullshit whiny nancy move and I probably shouldn't even post it but I'm in desperate need of validations right now: lately I've been pissed as shit at all the liars out there that put fantasies into my head. Confidence in my abilities does not look good on me. It's so much easier to drag through life knowing I suck at everything than it is to keep putting effort into dreams and getting shot down.

I mean, I'm going to keep on trying to get paid to write. I won't stop. But you know those people out there that say 'you have to believe you can do it or you never will' and all those fucking false, uppity, horsefeathery ideas that they drip into the ears of failures so they'll blame their mindset instead of their ability? I love what they're trying to do here, but sometimes a little honesty would be nice. "You don't have the skill or likability to do this professionally, Ross. Don't give up. Just face reality: most people are better at this than you are."

But I can't have any illusions here, as if I was some sort of scribbling savant shouldering a muse. If I could pick a muse, it would probably be Calliope and that's not just because I was Calliope in the eighth grade school play which I totally co-wrote, by the way. We sang I love I love my Mount Olympian girls to Calendar Girl and my line was, "Calliope: her good guys always win" and then I narrated the stories of Theseus slaying the evil Medusa where Theseus was an aspiring hairdresser, and of Perseus and the Minotaur where Perseus was a pizza delivery guy, and therefore an expert on topography and the psychology of space. It was so much easier to get your shit into the world in eighth grade. In eighth grade I was an epic, comedic genius.

But now, apparently, I am too "edgy." I lack "professional" knowledge of a topic (how much more professional can you get to write about cult classics than working at a fucking video store and rating like 4,000 movies on Netflix? Really? You want some pap smear with a film degree? Fucking bogus). That's the big thing, really. I lack the professionalism, experience, background,

Why don't they just say they don't like my writing? Dicks. I understand that my business writing skills are bullshit. I know. I'm too self-referential and when I eliminate first-person it sounds stiff and elitist and fuck.

There are people out there who believed in me and asked me write things for them, and I've fucked up every single one of those. I would lose sleep over it. Friends need band bios, or website copywriting, they give me ideas for short stories and they're so inspirational and wonderful for trusting me and my ability to promote and portray something so important to them. And I'll agree and get excited and sit down to write, because I know that this time I fucking got this. I'm hopeful, confident that I'll pull something sparkly and whimsical and excellent. I know I will, because someone I care about trusted me to do it.

I'll start typing and by word three it's just a fucking document wasteland, and eventually becomes some variation of, "You goddamn useless piece of shit, why can't you just write like all of the normal people in the world? Get it done. You can do this. If Stephanie Meyer can write a series of books, you can write a band bio. People love your writing. You had a fan club. Why are you such a fucking cumbucket of spider legs and suck, you fat, worthless, disgusting thing?" Then I cry, smack myself around. Sit in the bathroom and pull my hair like a bratty child without candy, do a red-faced mirror pep talk to snap out of it and notice how horrible the lighting is in that bathroom, and then I cry again because who could ever love someone so self-loathing?

Shit, this is depressing. I should not post this, but I have to. Otherwise I'm going to just stare at the draft every day and I'll never resolve anything. I need to just let the internet deal with my incompetence because I am not emotionally capable of handling it on my own. And this blog was always about stories and honesty. Breathe.

This post began as a pledge letter for work. I was drafting a letter and it mutated into a blog post about how I have writers block unless I'm writing about me. Do you see what I mean?

Shit. Shitshitshit.



nursemyra said...

"You want some pap smear with a film degree?"

haha... that's some pretty fine writing there madam

daisyfae said...

i think it was Bukowski who said the only reason to write is because you have to... or something like that. if you're trying, and it doesnt come out, then that's not the kind of writer you are...

raw talent? turn of a phrase? ability to see things other people miss? capturing the bittersweet shit in life, and wrapping it up with a laugh?

you got all that. but i think there's a certain amount of luck and timing. and if you think you need the 'cred' or 'training'? do a workshop or something...

Mr London Street said...

There is a huge degree of luck, opportunity and connections involved in this sort of thing. Talent is only the third corner of that triangle. I read things every day by people who are "published" that can't even come close to the quality of things I read by people who have no luck, opportunity or connections. People who write because they want to, because they have to, people who haven't got lazy and complacent.

For what it's worth, I think you are good enough, and I can see you have a style that would fit in a lot of places. The Rumpus, for instance, or McSweeneys. But we all have moments like the one you describe here (well, I do anyway) and it would be a lot easier at times if you thought you couldn't do it, or if your friends told you to give up.

JMH said...

It sounds like you could use a drink. I'll buy you one. Or buy yourself one and invoice me. See? Making money already.

The self-inflicted wounds are always the most exquisite. My theory is, not less self-referential, but more. If you cut deep enough I think you eventually get to something universal and then you can apply that to everything. Have I ever seen that work? Do I get paid to write?

What's with all the questions? Stop asking questions. Stop looking at me, swan.

Kono said...

You will come to a point when you won't care anymore, when i was younger i'm sure i cared, was gonna be the next Bukowski or Henry Miller, now i don't give a fuck, you've seen what i write who would publish that shit? London's right, there is a bit of luck involved cuz i've read a lot of talentless fucks, held their books in my hand, sometimes it pisses me off and then i remember i don't care, i have confindence in my own ability, you should too, i don't worry about getting paid, would it be nice? sure. I do it to do it or else my fellow americans would think i'm just some loser who changes fucking light bulbs, which i am... and which i am not, don't fret kid and whatever you do don't sign up for an MFA, that shit just teaches people how to write badly but it does get you in the club but as far as i'm concerned they can have their fucking club, i'll stick to mine, it has one member who's president, v.p., secretary and treasurer... but i like you so if you want you can join.

Jane said...

You should know that when Chris first told me to read your blog, I did. Like for serious. I sat down and ignored my school work for hours, going back months in your blog, just reading your stories. You had me hooked from the beginning. You've got skill, and you've got talent, it's just the luck you're lacking. But you're young yet - give it time, you'll find it. Or, more accurately, it'll find you. I believe in you, and your strength. I know we just met, but I'm a fan. I will totally buy your books. (See how I said "will"? That's the power of positive thinking right there.)

And, Calliope is also my favorite muse. And not just because I think her name is quite possibly the most beautiful name I've ever heard in my life. It's like music, and it just rolls off your tongue and pleases your ears. Calliope. *siiigh*

Also, this post was totally nancy. But I promise I won't hold it against you. :-p

nuts4fruits said...

As a child, I was smitten with Apollo and spent my days pretending that I was on a first name basis with the rest of the Roman/Greek gods.

I think most people have writer's block unless they're writing about themselves. But most would not have your courage and admit it.

Mr London Street is right. And I hope you get your "professional" voice soon.

Rygantron said...

Only editors with an appalling lack of imagination would deem anything "too edgy" - there's no such thing.

We've all, I assume, had those days where it feels like we're incapable of writing out so much as our address, but so what? Live to write another day.

Oh, and fuck 'em all - you're killer, Rass. And though on re-read that sounds like the glib advice I've gotten when knee-deep in my own doldrums, it's true: you're awesome, and anyone who thinks you're too edgy will never like your shit. Write what you like and if they don't like it, what, they're the only people in the world accepting submissions?


Love Ry

renalfailure said...

Stop tapping into my constant fears and neuroses. It's like we share a nightmare, except we alternate which days to have it, which days we curl up and hate ourselves for not meeting our personal standards of awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

if you want to feel better about being rejected, i got rejection emails from groupon and target in the same week. target!

also i had recommended that a friend apply to groupon. she has the same degree i have. she applied first and got the job. i did not get the job. i! the one who told her about it! same degree! & i'm "the writer" out of the two of us. but i figure the only difference was the cover letter, more or less. so basically my writing killed it for me.

Mongolian Girl said...

Yeah, I see what you mean.
And I happen to think what you write about yourself is spectacular. The only reason I don't read your blog anymore is because I'm a busy mofo and only read blogs where it is appropriate to say terrible things about my donkey.
But here I am, and let me tell you something...
The best rejections I've gotten from editors are on a little slip of paper and say, basicially, 'Thanks but no thanks'.
The ones who decide to school my ass have clearly become confused about what I've asked them to do; put my writing into their publication.
Not be my writing mentor, professor, mama or whatever else.
Ignore those people. 99.999% of the time they are self-righteous assholes.

formerly fun said...

Of course you are talented enough retard. I just started seeing my shrink again so excuse my immersion in the psycho babble but what's in your way is you. If you can't sit down and write some basics like the band bio and work crap it is possible that you are afraid of failing so deeply that you brain is refusing to comply. Obviously, if you care about the people involved the potential failure is bigger. I don't think good writers write because they have to, they write because they sit down everyday and do it, and most of what comes out is total shit but they keep doing it to get those rare on the fucking money moments. Look at any of our circle of bloggers and you can find total crap and utter genius. So try and figure out why you are afraid to fail, why you might be afraid to succeed and write and keep writing and eventually you'll hit on something that fits.

Of course this applies to all of us. I'm working on my "book" and it's all about brazilian fucking waxing. I sidestepped the idea a billion times b/c I wanted to write something more intellectual or more important but I can do two things that don't come together to often, I can write and I can wax a vag so there you go.

Sack Posset said...

Start your own magazine.

Kitty said...

What the? Stop telling yourself all of these things. Your writing is some of the best I've seen and I'd buy anything you wrote.

Keep writing and pushing on doors, eventually one will open. Be ready for it.

Grumpy said...

Aw Rass look- everyone is kissing your ass :) nah - you are uber awesome and done write good. Keep at it sistah. Only reason I don't know now crap I am yet is cos I haven't put my work out there. You are far braver than I.

M. said...

Dude I know for damn sure I'm gonna become a writer. I don't know how or when, but it's gonna happen. And none of that "I believe it" bullshit, I just feel like that's what I'm going to do because everything in my life points to it.
And I write nowhere NEAR as well as you do.

Thanks for letting us see this. And don't give up, you know, cuz like everyone says, it's about timing. The Beatles and JK Rowling and [insert other people] got rejected 32 times or something like that.

Keep trying, someone is bound to catch on.

Mongolian Girl said...

What Sack Posset said. Do that. GAWD I fucking love it that she said that.

Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red said...

Have you read Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet? If not, I recommend it.

Like him, I can't tell you to be a writer. I can tell you that I have a job writing and editing for the government, a buddy of mine with an undergrad English degree and at least one unpublished novel (which I have read and like) does some writing and editing but mostly oversees the other writers at a website run by Nielsen. My friend who has an MFA in Creative Writing temps in New York and is mostly broke.

There's a lot to be said for having a steady job. Sooner or later, that steady job could center around writing. Took me 'til 33 to get a job I liked.

I have an MFA in Acting, and I always thought that was what I wanted to do. Now I have multiple sclerosis - so I don't move well anymore, a husband who gets unhappy when I'm out every night (as I would be if I were rehearsing, as I have been at earlier points in this relationship), and by far the best desk job I've ever had.

I can't tell you what's around the bend. I hope maybe you're one of the people who makes the full-time creative thing work. But I can tell you two things:

1. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. A lot. Every day.

2. What I have bears only a vague relationship to what I always thought I wanted, and I've never been happier.

p.s. I haven't sent it yet, but I promise I will soon.

Del-V said...

If it makes you feel any better when I met my blogging hero, Pistols at Dawn, he said he loved your blog. Then he told me to keep trying and maybe one day I would be a good writer also. So if he liked your writing, you have what it takes!

Anonymous said...

I read a book once along time ago. As in... 3 months? Bird by Bird. It's about writing and all the shit that goes along with it. If you read it, I bet you'll feel validated in doubting yourself. Because apparently even super successful authors can't get past the beating themselves up part of writing. -Lailani