November 11, 2007
I received my first proper literary rejection this morning. It was civil and direct, “Thank you sir, not what we’re looking for…do try again”. There was a tiny thrill of squashed hope, but mostly I was pleased to receive my initial lash of tortured artist cred. Even when you know you’re going to take a beating it feels good to throw the first punch; to accept the consequences regardless of the reward.
It took a while to reach that revelation. Historically I spent my time drifting in a piss warm pool of potential, stroking just enough to keep my ego afloat. I understood my general apathy as something rooted in a fear of failure: that if I tried and my talent proved too thin, I would be reduced to something dun. Then I failed at about three quarters of things of things I attempted in early adulthood…and it wasn’t that bad. I mean they weren’t throwing any parades in my honor, but the villagers didn’t gather to stone me either. And gradually I realized that it wasn’t failure I was afraid off, it was honestly. The truth was I felt exposed by success, and tended to abandon promising ventures before they could be taken away. Tough notion to reconcile, but I found admitted cowardice is a surprisingly easy thing to move past.
So now I am a moderately brave failure who has learned success is the absence of surrender, and the larger part of talent is the willingness to put forth your weaker parts and endure. It kind of sucks, but there is a masochist charm to it that fills the void my infatuation with poetic self defeat occupied. Admittedly I’m more tweaking my dysfunction than addressing the flaw, but we are who are…it’s just a matter of framing the context.
(a little over dramatic given the subject matter… but I dig the song.)