Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who Do I Hate?

I had initially titled this posting "I Suck," but it is such an obvious fact to that there's really no reason in reiterating it in lights.

Self-loathing is the cheapest trick in the writer's bag of rhetoric, but it is also part-and-parcel of an artistic temperament. Those who write or paint or compose and have the facade of supreme confidence are to be avoided at all costs.

You know the type. They've got the novel published. They've gotten the great reviews. They've got money, fame, and literary esteem. But they hate themselves.

It's not just that such folk are Holden Caulfield phonies, but I daresay that a suicide attempt has rained on their past, or soon will. A hyper-confident facade is overcompensation, and for all the psycho-babble in our culture about self-esteem, it may not do well for writers. If you had perfect self-esteem, you would believe that you were incapable of doing wrong. You know, like the Nazis or George Bush. Not that I'm comparing the two.

Though they may have their own pools of self-doubt, however, most the successful artists I know don't hate themselves. But I do. At least on October 18, 2006.

Avoid phonies -- in any language

You see, there's a reason why I'm not looking at other blogs or posting on my own save for the most lengthy of intervals. My stories are getting turned down. My novel rewrite is on the road to nowhere. I see rejection everywhere I look.

As this translates itself to the art of fiction, every word becomes leaden, every session at the computer is exquisite torture. I haven't put up any blog posts lately because every time I start writing one, it gets deleted after a couple of pained, strained, drained, maimed, lame, tamed sentences filled with ridiculous adjectives.

My writing feels like an amalgam of juvenile poetry and adult schlock.

This hasn't been helped by certain problems at work, which have put me into a deep funk for reasons you don't need to know, except a certain individual is making me miserable.

Of late, certain developments in my life should, on the surface, make me very happy. And the course of my existence is good, by all possible measures. But there's one area in which I feel inadequate, and that is in the written word.

It's funny how one can be humming right along, and then a harmonic convergence blows one's confidence to shreds. To wit: I get a rejection letter, I sulk, I'll watch football on TV, then feel guilty about not writing, try to write, give it up, and watch football on TV. It's like being roasted on one of those sterno weenie burners.

One thing I've noticed is that I'm not reading a book that is making me want to write. I've just started Christopher Isherwood two-novel set of "The Berlin Stories," as I figure since I have seen the musical and the movie, I might as well be familiar with the source material. The book is interesting for its anachronistic tone and writing, but so far, Mr. Isherwood, I'm Just Not That Into You. (But we'll go out on a couple of more dates.)

See the movie, read the book

Is there anyone I hate more than myself? Let's consider the possibilities:

Bookfraud: inability to publish stories, massive tolerance for abuse.

George Bush: Satan.

Bookfraud: constant sense of alienation and the paranoid fear that the writing establishment is a "club" to which he shall gain entrance.

Dick Cheney: Right Hand of Satan.

Bookfraud: Paralyzed with doubt, inability to achieve on his writing goals.

Donald Rumsfeld: Satan's lawyer

Well, there's three for you.

I have to stop writing. I just hate it too much.