Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

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Insecurity. It's how I roll. Rated R for a gay metaphor.

Preamble: If you don't want to read this journal then don't. If you don't want my opinions on your opinions of what I write, don't comment. This is my territory. Enter at your risk. I've modified my journal name accordingly, and I think I am finally satisfied with it. For you pop-culture junkies, I am not ripping off Buffy I'm referencing the same ancient maps where this was a warning for explorers who went off the beaten seaways.

I've been thinking for the last week or so about posting a poll on this journal about me, my writing, and my future. Those subjects are of extreme interest to me, and I wanted to get others' opinions of them. I decided against it, for a few reasons. For one, there's the pathetic response the last poll I posted garnered. I recieved two votes, and one of them was in unfunny jest. For people who seem to enjoy, or at least tolerate, a lot of political commentary, you guys aren't heavy voters. There's also the matter of not wishing to appear desperate for approval or reliant on other people's opinions, even though I am. (Love me, please.) Would I like validation from others? Yes, but only if it's honest and if it isn't there then it's not a dealbreaker. A lot of people with livejournals are attention seekers who can be upset by negative commentary and "drama." I'm not. I've learned to be tough on the inside and I can handle criticism, even if I don't like it. Of course I'll argue the points, because that's my nature, and a lot of times people don't understand what I'm trying to do when they make certain critiques, but they won't shatter me emotionally and in the long run they are helpful. There's also the fact that you haven't seen the best of what I've got. My journal entries have all been hastily thrown together affairs, generally unedited and often finished late at night when I'm exhausted and start to trail off. I don't know why I haven't sat down and constructed a top notch essay, run it through several editings, and posted it. I'd imagine it's because I fear that it'll suck and I'll be exposed as a fraud. The closest example would be the july 4th essay I posted on July 7th, and that garnered a lot of positive reaction.

On the other hand, I've been getting comments on my writing recently and I want to digest them properly. A few people have said they enjoy my writing, which is one of the most inscrutable comments one can make. Is it merely a meaningless pleasantry like "and how are you today, sir?" Meant to establish a friendly mood and acknowledge someone else without actually meaning what it explicitly says? I see it a lot in other journals, in some cases praising posts that just aren't particularly good. As I've said before, Livejournal often functions as a support group. I'd like to think that I drive those people away by being cynical and bitter, as God intended young people to be.

So assuming that what was said was meant sincerely, and this is not a safe assumption but it's one I'll make for the sake of a thought experiment, the question is what it means. It could be a nice way of saying "Not bad, for an amateur. Let me show you how a REAL man does it!" or it could be a comment meant to suggest that I might actually be able to succeed as a wordsmith, or it might not be thought out to anywhere near that degree. Damn non-neurotic people and their straightforward statements. Damn them to a hell of overanalysis!

Then there was what felt like a backhanded compliment from rdg who said that I shouldn't work in film because I was too "clever" for it. For some reason I got a picture in my head of sleeping with a woman, asking her about performance, and getting the response "Look, I just want to say that I think you'd be great at sucking cock. This here, this whole...intercourse thing...I'm not sure you're cut out for it. You're TOO in touch with your sexuality. Your talents are being wasted. Cock sucking is definitely the direction you should be going in. Good luck with that."

What does all this mean? Absolutely nothing. They're stray comments from strangers on the internet. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to take stock of my own writing, and talk about my favorite subject. Me. If other people want to talk about me or my writing that's fine and even appreciated, but don't feel compelled on account of me (Love me. Please.)

The questions I was planning to ask were:

Do I have the talent to succeed as a writer/creative person?
Will I succeed as a writer/creative person?
Why won't I succeed?
What is my greatest strength in this arena?
What is my greatest weakness?
Will I ever find love?
Am I a giant douche for posting this poll?
How MUCH of a giant douche?

Now I'll answer them for myself.

I think that I do have the talent to succed as a writer. I think I'm funny, I think I have a strong sense of flow, and I think that I'm original in interesting ways, which is key. It's easy to be original, you can just string together nonsense (the famous purple monkey dishwasher line.) I believe that I can do better than that and look at things in interesting ways. As I stated in an earlier entry I sometimes laugh out loud at my own stuff. Maybe that's just me, but I've seen other people read my stuff and laugh out loud at a fairly good clip, when I'm on. Mind you I'm talking about the stuff that's intended for an audience, rather than stuff like this which is more an exploration of my psyche and a signpost of my current mental state. The way to judge writing is to judge the stuff that's intended to be read. I'm sure even Shakespeare's diary had really lame entries like "Stubbed my toe today. Fuck, it hurts a lot. My wife's really annoying. Heh, I just came up with the phrase "Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Will have to find a way to work that into something. Maybe a play. Man I'm hungry. Could use a ham omlet. Mmm. Ham." I think the raw ability to produce things that are interesting and even opinion-changing exists within me, and though it has not yet been fully harnessed there are flashes of what may eventually come to pass. I am confident in ym talent and I don't think that confidence will be easily shaken.

I have no idea whether I'll succed or not, in any sense of the word. I very much doubt I'll ever be rich and famous, and I probably won't be able to support myself through creative efforts for a decade or more. There's too much luck that goes into real widespread acclaim, as well as pandering and brown-nosing that are not my specialities. I also don't know whether I'll ever produce a really good piece of creative work. I hope that I will, but it's hard to tell. Sometimes people who don't seem all that bright can flare up for one great piece of work, and sometimes those who look like they have all the talent in the world never harness it in such a way as to make something truly special.

I won't succeed because it's a FUCKING hard thing to do. A lot of its based not on merit but luck and networking. My luck sucks and my networking's for shit.

My greatest strength is probably my willingness to push the envelope and explore ideas, coupled with the ability to see things from an original and interesting angle.

I have way too many weaknesses to pick just one, but I'd say the biggest is my lack of editing. That's something I really need to work on. So far I've been focusing on just getting the writing done, making sure the creative output remains high, but I have to edit. Everyone needs to edit. Newspaper columnists make a full salary writing 1500 words a week. This is not because they are terribly slow typists, but because they research and edit so thoroughly that they are confident about the importance and value of each word. I tend to ramble, I leave typos, and I don't polish. It's not that I don't know how to polish, it's more that I find polishing very boring and that I'm afraid that I'll spit-shine one of my pieces up and it won't be wonderful and I'll be crushed. That's not an excuse, it's an explanation. Another weakness would be my lack of motivation in terms of getting stuff out there, finding readers and feedback, and self-promoting. I've always been a terrible self-promoter in every facet of my life. It's one of the reasons that I not only cannot ask for a date but I can't even talk to girls that I would really want to date. All that goes through my head are the negatives. In some ways that's an asset, it keeps one striving always to improve and it keeps us humble (see how I used the royal "us" alongside humble? BOOYAH. Also I use way too many parentheticals.) On the other hand, if you aren't going to self-promote then nobody is going to you-promote. I don't have the confidence to barge into an office and say "ooo ooo pick me." I don't want to promise more than I know I can deliver. You need to promise more than you know you can deliver, otherwise you won't be motivated to strive beyond your known capacities. That's not a good thing.

Of course not. You want love? Buy a goldfish. It won't love you, but at least when it spurns you you can kill it and nobody will ask questions.

I didn't actually post the poll so I guess this question is kind of moot. I don't think I'm a giant douche though. I'm honest, caring, sensative, intelligent, funny, and principled. I can forgive insecure, longwinded, overly critical, arrogant, and pigheaded. I'm going to have to rate myself as a non-douche.

Okay, I'm something of a giant douche. *sigh*
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