As some of you may know, or may have been able to guess, I’ve been fairly stressed out lately. Between my job, my birthday, and other things, I’ve been in a constant state of stress. Not the kind of stress that motivates you either. The kind of stress where you feel absolutely helpless to do anything about it and so you do nothing but dwell on your helplessness and become a complete asshole.
Over the weekend I was able to relieve most of my stress thanks to the help of my girlfriend and her sister. Okay you pervs, not like that. My weekend started with a quiet birthday party that mainly consisted of hanging out with friends and having a few (too many) cocktails. More important than the drinking was the laughing, something I haven’t been doing nearly enough of lately. I found my smile.
The next day we started early with a little shopping followed by a late breakfast and then a nice relaxing drive in the hills. It was a beautiful, summery day. Something you don’t see too often in South Dakota in February. I could literally feel the tension leaving my body. So much so that by the time we got home I was physically exhausted. Not from the day, but from the previous weeks of constant pressure. I felt like a deflated balloon and yet I still felt like I was floating.
Sunday was mostly a lazy day with a visit to the theater in the evening which was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.
I’m sure as the week progresses the stress will begin to weigh me down again but as long as I remember to blow off a little steam on the weekend all will be well and I can write the rest of it away.
Today I find myself having the same argument I’ve had with myself hundreds of times before. Art or money? In other words; Do I work on writing something reasonably marketable that appeals to a wide audience or do I spend my time working on something more literary and artistic that probably only a handful of people will ever read until long after I’m dead, if then? Is it possible to do both at the same time either in the same book or by writing two separate books simultaneously?
More importantly, am I a fool to think I’m even capable of writing something truly artistic?
I enjoy writing genre fiction. It’s like playing for me. As a matter of fact that’s exactly what it is. When I’m writing that sort of thing I’m once again the kid on the playground, stick in hand, pretending I’m the knight in shining armor.
It’s just that I would like to leave something more meaningful behind as my legacy. The literary stuff is where I really bare my soul. It’s that sort of writing I want to be remembered for. The question is whether I’ll actually be remembered even if I do write something great. I guess I’m still trying to find out who I am. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m just a hack that will never write anything anybody wants to read anyway so it really doesn’t matter. Hopefully I’m right in thinking that most writers, even successful ones, think that from time to time.
I know what my writing idols would say. “Just write the damned thing and let others worry about what it is or isn’t. By that time you should be well on your way to finishing the next one anyway.”
In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote that I find inspiring when I’m questioning my validity as an artist.
Everyone enjoy your weekend. Since I missed a couple this week I will try to post over the weeekend. No promises though. I’m wildly unreliable.
Whenever I look at the writers that truly inspire me, they all seem to have one thing in common; they are extremely bad influences. Drinkers, drug abusers, womanizers, cheaters, brawlers. Even fictional writers like Hank Moody in Californication and Zach Hutton in Skin Deep are drunken womanizers. The sad part is, even though I know deep down that it would in the end be a terrible way to live, a part of me still wants it. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve learned to think that is how a writer’s life is supposed to be but there it is. I know not all writers live this way, in fact, most probably don’t but it seems the ones I truly look up to all lived that way. Maybe that means there’s something wrong with me.
Truth be told, I have given up most of my bad habits. I quit smoking. I don’t drink very much anymore. I still overeat but hey, I’m trying. Sometimes I think maybe I should try drinking a little more. I’m not talking about getting falling down drunk mind you, just a little grease for the wheels so I’m not worrying so much about every word I write. It does seem my writing comes a bit more smoothly when I’ve had a drink or two.
Is this why so many writers drink so much or does writing tend to attract a certain type of person? Perhaps a writer needs the liquor as a buffer for dealing with emotions most people keep hidden. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. What do you think?
Sorry for the short post today. I am about to start my weekend which is good because I am just worn out from the week. I feel like I never fully woke up for work last night. I’m going to be very upset if I wake up and find out it was actually a dream and I still have to go in. You may laugh but it’s happened to me before. It felt like I worked a double shift.
On a side note, I have a question. Do any of you use Google+? I have had an account for awhile but never used it because I already use Facebook but I attened my first hangout last night and it was pretty cool talking to a bunch of people all over the country face to face. I was just wondering what you think about it.