Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another Archive

* This is another archive originally posted in what became my photoblog, "Overflow." It was titled "Still Crazy After All These Years," and since writing it almost a year ago, it still holds a great deal of meaning for me. *

Still Crazy After All These Years

I am a writer.
I… am a writer.
I am… a writer.
I’m a writer.

It still feels odd to say. I’m not sure I believe it sometimes. Then I start going into this “I’m not worthy” self-deprecating dialogue, usually internally, and then I start to second-guess even that. I feel like I’m singing the “poor me, nobody understands” song while questioning my motives for doing so. Am I seeking validation or am I sorting through something that touches others as well? Does it really need to be said?

Am I profound… or just pathetic?

Perhaps I just think way too much. That’s a fair characterization. Since this is the case, let us further dissect the premise. Come along, the rabbit hole is right over here…

First, some facts: For whatever reason, I find it difficult to attribute credit to myself, but only under some rather inconsistent circumstances. Don’t know why, I just do. It would probably take years of therapy and untold thousands of dollars to find out – I’ll pass. The fact is that I am a writer. There is abundant evidence. In fact, it’s not hard to be a writer – most everyone is at some time or another. If you write, you’re a writer – by definition.

Ok, ok, I know that is a rather broad interpretation and in most contexts it is not a sufficient one. We’re talking about a more concrete identification. Many would say that to be called a writer, it must be a much larger part of who we are than just jotting down a memo or a letter to a friend. It probably should occupy a significant amount of time on a daily, or at least semi-regular basis. For me, it does. I write often, I write daily and I write a lot.

Maybe to be a writer, one must have a writing career. Journalists, playwrights, novelists, and technical writers are but a very few examples of professional writers. Careers are jobs and jobs are paid. A professional writer is compensated for his or her written work. Done and done. I have been drawing a regular paycheck for putting words and punctuation in a specific order that someone is willing to pay for. Oddly enough, I find it marginally easier to say I am a professional writer. Don’t ask – I don’t know why.

Here’s the tricky part. I am a good writer. I don’t even like seeing that in front of me, but the empirical evidence is there. I receive high grades on my written work. Since entering Sac State, I have yet to receive anything lower than an A- on any prepared written work (on in-class writing like essay tests, I have only slightly lower marks). I get paid to write and I have won cash awards for my writing. I continually receive positive feedback – some from sources I greatly respect and are not known for giving false praise. Despite all that, I resist accepting it.

So what am I after? Is it validation and reassurance that I am indeed talented? Perhaps the desired result is one of sympathy or empathy. It can be very confusing when the manipulator and the manipulated are one and the same. I don’t know if these reflective, motive-checking moments are mine alone to endure, or if it is universally human. I’m not looking for validation, but I quite obviously am. I’m not seeking approval, but it’s approval that I desire. I don’t want praise, but can I ever get enough?

I try to finish everything I start, literarily anyway. I used to write the majority of my stuff in a single sitting. Sometimes it would take hours, sometimes minutes but I don’t like letting it go until it’s perfect. It never is and I always know it won’t be – it can’t be. The point is that the nature of the “professional” writing I do demands me to be far more flexible – sometimes writing even when I am not necessarily “inspired.” As a result, my collection of unfinished work is growing. It is becoming quite a load to carry.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. The point of it all? None. Don’t have one. I’m just thinking aloud; enjoying a little excursion to the lunatic fringe.


Michele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shoeaddict said...

I think you do. Michele sent me to tell you that you are going to blow a vein in your head if you don't stop thinking! Ha Ha.
I am so in awe of you and you know it. I think you're writing and career is impressive. I devour everything you write and still am so proud of the compliment you gave me. Even though you've never come back :( Not even to read my other personal essay, "Unanswered Prayers".
Anyway, it is my DREAM to become a real writer. I write now. Everyday. Personal essays, fictional stuff, blog stuff, letters, etc... I don't know how to get to the "people see what I write" stage.

Ok, that's enough! Have a good day
P.S. Did you get the job?

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over... well, 'cause she can. So much power, y'know? Of course you do.

Writing is a mixed bag for me, Mike. I enjoy it and I find it annoying. I guess it's a mood thing. Sometimes I feel a powerful need to put thoughts down "on paper" but that's only the start. After that it can go fast and easy or be a slow irritating process. Writing. I just don't know.

I'm certainly glad that you're finding your stride with your self-assessment regarding writing, Mike. You've certainly got plenty of talent and it's good that your confidence is catching up.

mckay said...

lunatic fringe? naaah, not you.



Anonymous said...

You need the hat. I have a friend who just bought a hat that says "Writer" except with the American Typewriter font, which looks really cool.

awareness said...

A toast to the muse. May it always inspire your flow of words.

Now don't you be thinking too much. We wouldn't want your head to pop off.

Michele sent me.....but I would've found you all on my own, with one little flap of a monarch wing.

enjoy your evening friend.


Bobkat said...

I'm glad I chose to visit you today. This post rings very true with me adn the exact same questions adn thoguhts have been known to dally and run havok inmy mind too. Not about writing but about other things. I also find it hard to admit that I am good at certain things. I don't really know why either but I suspect it has something to do with the perfectionist in me. I set very high standards for myself.

You are a very good writer. I chose to visit you today despite having limited time as I wnated to see what you had posted, so you can take from that what you will.

X said...

I'm envious that you actually *have* an archive to dip into when you're busy! I just do the whole blog neglect thing!

I hope all is well!

And you *are* a writer. A damn good one.

Bernie said...

The saying, 'To give credit where credit is due', that is what is needed here...

You say that you find it difficult to attribute credit to yourself, but here you give such an insight into yourself, thus you ARE give credit to you...

Thanks for sharing it with us!

Michele sent me to say hi this Friday morning in Sydney!

brad4d said...

. . life-long learning compilation? . .there is a conceptual problem with being finished and maturity . . isn't maturity when the investment gets cashed-in (or out)?