Kidding yourself that it is worthwhile. Edit.
by Nic Olson
I often wonder to myself, “If people aren’t thinking about what to write next, then what the hell are they thinking about?”
I guess there is quite a bit on the average person’s mind.
My mind usually includes the following:
Witty titles for blogs.
Intellectual phrases for stories.
Lines for poems.
Not being selfish.
Plus several others from the first list above. (You know which ones.)
Then, sometimes in the middle of thinking these things, or in the middle of an attempt at writing, in the single moment of clarity that I get in a month, I abruptly throw my hands in the air and groan, “Why do I fucking continue to kid myself?” This thought is born when I somehow compare myself to a writer of worth and realize that I will never reach where I wish to be. I realize that I am in a shop basement writing short stories with one-dimensional characters, sitting at a desk made of paint cans and used plywood at 10pm, staring at a black drywall screw holding up vinyl wood paneling. With this realization, any sort of motivation or feeling of worth dissolves on the concrete floor in the corner that the light doesn’t quite reach. Oh, it is disheartening. Enough to make me consider the deletion of all I’ve ever written and all I’ve ever thought about just to spite my own self.
I need to get real.
Get real in understanding that the world doesn’t need some amateur, second class ‘art’ to give it worth. Get real in understanding that my attempts at expression have been attempted and expressed far before my time. Get real in understanding that although it may not be hurting anyone, fiction or non-fiction or poetry, is all a form of rambling. Sometimes with a mediocre plot, sometimes without.
I won’t ever really know what other people think about if they aren’t thinking about writing. But at least they are lucky enough to be wasting their time thinking about something besides writing, nor will they be obligated to question the productivity or worth of their past five years of life. I will undoubtedly subconsciously continue to kid myself in thinking that what I am doing here is worthwhile, so that maybe someday I will accidentally stumble upon something that no one ever has.
There is no such thing.
A possible answer:
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”