Thursday, November 13, 2008


As an unpublished writer (the saddest, most self-implicating phrase in the world), I question the validity of what I'm doing often. I wonder, if I'm ever to amount to something as a writer, if greater skill shouldn't have manifested earlier. There's a great egotism to the kind of ambition I'm familiar with - even if the ambition itself is modest.

Guys I went to high school and college with are marrying, they're starting to get paid pretty serious sums of money for jobs I possibly could have done without this kind of foolish ambition. It's a meandering ambition, too - what is my aim, really? I'm overwhelming my future self with loan repayments and a lack of requisite job skills. I blanche at doing any kind of waged work - it's the manifestation of an ugly sense of entitlement.

There's a certain amount of self-insulating you have to do so that you're not overcome with self-doubt. This self-insulation, if you're a self-indulgent person, can ruin your relationships, can make your relationship with reality rather tenuous. There's a lot that has been written about Joyce's lifelong battle with reality.

Your disappointments are crushing. Your failed relationships become referenda on your status as a person. You remember back to high school, when your theology teacher said, "Let's be honest, all of you could make obscene amounts of money if you choose to." This made a great deal of sense at the time. It bled into a full accounting of your abilities, and was far more pernicious than the self-esteem building exercises in grade school, the "you can do anything you want!" assemblies you sat through - because you had a little bit more ability than other people, and a few more contacts.

What it leads to, again if you're a self-indulgent person, is a lot of self-pity. It tempts you to create a mythology around the choices you made; that they weren't choices at all, but pre-ordained things that happen to you. But if you're mature at all, you realize none of this has bearing on what you write, and if you can be an adult about it, it doesn't have much bearing on how you treat everyone else.

Or you get a therapist.


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