Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Getting there from here

July 24, 1980

I wake up to the concept that I have to start all over again, struggling to repeat whatever successes I’ve had yesterday while avoiding the pitfalls.
Even writing these words is a chore, a retuning of this engine I had almost purring.
It’s a never ending battle to prove I can do as well today as I have in the past, if not better.
At college, some kids cling to one or two pieces of work they consider masterpieces, fearful that someone else might steal their ideas.
They keep asking about copyrights and other protections, and wonder why I do not care too much about someone stealing what I do, and I tell them because whoever steals from me obviously doesn’t have an original idea in the first place and knows quality when they see it.
But doesn’t scare you to think they’re taking credit for what you do, they ask?
Yes, it would hurt, if anyone actually did it.
But what pride is there in what they do as compared to what I do?
They are not me. My job is to make sure I can keep doing what I do, and repeat or do better, and in the end, if someone steals one thing, I will have hundreds of other pieces to replace what they took, and that poor fool has nothing.
The big fear is not being able to repeat it, and get stuck the way some artist are, with having only one thing to say in their lives, and once said, they have nothing to look ahead to.
I struggle with it all for a number of reasons. I never write anything that I don’t think is good or can be if I work on it hard enough. Sometimes I just put one word after another with the hopes that some future self (who has achieved what I have not yet achieved) can convert it into something worth reading.
I am a better writer today than I was a year ago, and if I’m not better a year from now or ten years, then it is my fault.
Another problem, of course, is the fact that I’m more interested in writing than publishing, and this leads to the inevitable frustration of not being able to make a living at what I love most.
Like everybody, I ache for recognition, to see what I do appreciated, and to perhaps earn a little fame – you know that guy campuses invite to come speak to their students, or gets on some radio talk show to explain what they meant when they wrote this or that, or to hobnob in some literary or even jet set social elite (only I would likely get myself thrown out for saying the wrong thing or telling one of those snobs what I really think of them).
But in the end, I ache to do something so well, to have some piece so well written, that it will out live me, fame or no fame, something that some future life soul I might come back as will gravitate towards, somehow knowing that the person in this life time is that person in a new life. I believe in reincarnation, and that we come back and are drawn to those in the past we have known or were us – I would like to think that I was Mark Twain in a prior life, rather than Shakespeare or James Joyce.
So I place word after word with the hope that it adds up to something, and that just by doing it, I get better at it, and like bicycle riding, I can pick up where I left off (or at least without too much loss) the next day so as to travel a little farther, making progress across this landscape we call art, and to arrive somewhere I want to reach, even if I’m not quite clear as to how to get there from here.

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