There’s this guy I know. A young fella. Young to me, anyway. Young in a lot of ways. Sure.
Anyway, this young fella. Fancy’s himself something of a writer. More power to him. More power to all of us. He’s got youth going for him, that’s for sure. The spunk of his age. Plenty of energy.
So he’s telling me about his work. All about his work. He knows exactly what he’s writing about. Precisely. He knows what he puts on the page and only what he puts on the page. Anything pre-dating his yarn doesn’t exist. Any artistic references that could inform his writing don’t exist. Any of that and all of that–they never really happened.
I shake my head.
Then he starts talking about the writing itself. How he prepares for a session. How he gets up for it and sustains it. He makes sitting at the keyboard sound like a goddam event.
I’ve been a working stiff most of my life. I’ve had to pursue “my work” when I could. It’s always been just like that last line from hide and go seek: ready or not, here I come. I never could afford to wait for some muse, for some special inspiration, for just the right mood. Whether the creative juices flowed like Niagara or buckled and cracked like blacktop in the heat, I never had a choice. The bottom line remained. The bottom never changed. The bottom line lingered and haunted and pounded away like the dropping percentages of a baseball statistic.
If I didn’t do the work, it didn’t get gone. It’s always been that simple.
Today I’m in a rare position. Privileged, I am. I’m a full-time writer. And I have no idea how long this opportunity will hold.
Some days it’s a push. A lot of days. So sometimes I push. What else can I do? All I can do is keep feeding the meter until it expires. Or until I expire. It’s always been that simple.
Right and wrong doesn’t exist in any art scene. That young fella should do exactly as he pleases. Creating a work that plays is what matters. And maybe he’ll do just that, no matter how much I shake my head.