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everybody wants to be a cat.

February 17, 2012

because being a cat is where it’s at. but instead, substitute the word ‘writer’ for the word ‘cat’. i don’t know if being a writer is where ‘it’s at’ but i do know this one thing that has become more and more dire and apparent to me as i spend more and more time writing and only writing.

everybody wants to be a writer.

WHAT am i doing? or as SGF would say:

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what am i doing – what what what am i doing? but seriously. what am i doing.

everyody has aspirations of glory. that’s the thing about our society – we’re told from a young age that we’re unique and special and that we all have hidden talents, talents that maybe other people don’t necessarily have. and we’re all told that. so from a young age i always believed that i was special, but the other i get, the more i realise that everybody has those aspirations, those aims at glory – that shooting for the moon, if you will, to quote an old chestnut – and okay maybe we’re not all going to hit the moon, or even land amongst the stars. which is a dreary thought, but i wrote a blog post a while back about how i didn’t believe that writers acknowledge their own fear often enough, so here we go – here is my (current) fear.

the more i write and submit to magazines and anthologies, etc, the more i realise that everybody wants to be a writer. more than that – everybody thinks that they’re a writer. i call myself a writer because it’s an easy term to use, easier than explaining “i’m kind of a student still but i’m also trying to make it as a writer, and i don’t want to use the term ‘author’ because some writers take weird offense to that, and i’m totally unsure if i have any bankable skills, so help me jesus.” but with the advent of blogs (guilty) and tumblr and twitter and other … online stuff (mediums?), everybody has a platform. you don’t even have to have an isbn anymore, because you have chapbooks and self-published books and blog posts and other … online stuff. i fancy myself a writer, and yet so does a huge other chunk of the world’s population.

and a part of me really believes that i’m going to make it. that i really have something special, that i have an important story to tell for this book that i’m writing (and i do believe the story is important because it’s beyond me, it’s not all about me, it’s about a beautiful and wonderful man). but then everybody else tells me “i’m writing a book, too!” and the more book news i hear about people my age scoring lovely book contracts, the more i shrink into myself. i’m thrashing it out trying to get dinky poems published in little anthologies and i get so excited when someone offers to pay me thirty dollars for a poem, it makes me so excited and so grateful. and so it’s really hard to remain magnanimous in these days, when it seems like everybody else’s time has come, everybody else is reaching their goals. if i believe that i’m a good writer (which i don’t know that i believe anymore, that’s how stuck i am in the editing process, where i go ueueeghghghhhhhh what the hell did i write and why did i write it~?!??!) then other people believe that they are good writers, and so why should i be special? why should i be the one to make it? i always thought that i was determined and tenacious and all of the other terms that go hand in hand with being a little bulldog of a girl, always overextending her reach and doing what others told her she could not do, but sometimes i get so unsure – unsure that the life of constantly being told NO is the life for me.

i guess the life of being told NO is the life of an artist, in whatever form. it’s important for me to get used to it now because at least i’ll start to form my calluses, but the truth is i’m scared – there, i said it, it’s important to say that. i’m scared that my book will a) never be finished b) never be published c) be controversial d) worse, make no impact. i’m scared, a little, now, that i’m just a part of the legions of other people, that for some (insane) reason i’ve been told that i’m a good writer for my whole life, but i’m really not. which is insane, i know, but that’s what i think about – the more i’m told no, the more i push back my graduation date.

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so there. that’s my fear of the week – month, even. i’m allowed to be scared, and to tell other people about it, because fear is not the new four-letter f word, it just can’t be. i’ll still continue to go at it boldly – and maybe the good thing about fear is that sometimes all fear can be equal, so why should i be scared of pitching to – say – the new yorker? it’s just another magazine, right?

.

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i need an SGF, pronto!

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