Sophistry and card tricks. Monday morning quarterbacks and backseat drivers. Data mining, info-graphics, ten-best lists. Rankings and reports and royalties and reviews and readings. The stuff of success?
Am I above the all-American dream? In by nine, out by five and make your first million before the first pot brews? Of course not. I’m a yankee doodle dandy as much as the next fella. But as soon as notions of success-measuring cliches enter the mix, I’m overwhelmed. Besides, a million isn’t cracked up to be what it used to be cracked up to be.
I wouldn’t turn down commercial success. Not on your life. But I can’t measure myself by it. That’s not why I do what I do. I haven’t made any New York list or bestseller list or even some Hoboken list. I’ve still got to do what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to create. I’ve got to produce. I’ve got to get it out and put it on paper or turn it into pixels or some damn thing.
Sure, I’ll promote myself. I’ll pitch. I’ll sell. But there’s boundaries. There’s some reasonless gut level line drawn in that invisible sand I’ll never cross. My writing isn’t based on market analysis or Pew polls or the latest Amazon stats.
I get an idea, see? I imagine an image or hear a voice. An artistic question pops into my little head that I’ve got to try to answer. It ferments and bubbles and boils over. It spills through my fingers and onto the electronic canvas.
Spinning on the so-called creative process leaves me with dizzy dissertations such as this with no business prospects in sight. Left brain-right brain? I sometimes wonder if they’re connected.
I meant this post to hold forth on measuring success, and here I am slinging in circles. But my hourglass is running on empty and I have writing to do. Maybe I’l be a success tomorrow. Or next week. Or next leap year. Maybe I’m already a success and I don’t even know it. Sure.
Well, I wake up to 20 or 30 emails, (Mostly the Democratic Party wanting me to send them money) (And then merchants wanting me to stop on by and buy.) But when I wake to a notice of one of your blogs…I stop and read. Now, if the shoe were on the other foot, I’d consider that “success”. (Not that I’m suggesting I want to wear your shoes.)
That’s awful kind of you, Zelda. And you bet I take that as success, the kind of success you can take with you. I’ll take it in a nine and a half…