Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Becoming a pyromaniac

When I first started this blog last month, I had to limit myself to writing only one entry a day. I had so much I wanted to write down. Now, a month later, I find myself with so little worth saying. The enormous snowfall? So what. My teaching? I don't want to reveal too many details about that. My writing problems? How self-absorbed. My health issues? Everyone is dealing with something going wrong in their lives.Same old, same old.

How could I go from bursting with ideas to being intellectually bankrupt so fast? The muses are indeed fickle. And it has been quite a while since they smiled upon me and showered me with their blessings.

Right now, my ass has been called on the carpet (is that a real expression?) because it's been so damn long since I've turned in any of the work I'm supposed to be doing. It is almost like the pressure has to become unbearable in order for me to work and who wants to put themselves through that kind of stress? It's like being an actor who has stage fright who signs up to do 8 performances a week...almost like I have to force myself to do what terrifies me because I know somewhere in there there is a payoff. And that payoff is a long, long ways away.

The funny thing is is that I'm good at what I do. I think so and I've been told so by others. But I'm not "brilliant" and that apparently is the standard by which my advisers are judging me by. And the prospect of getting yet another rejection of my best efforts is demoralizing.

Ironically, intellectually, I know that this is something every writer goes through. I have books that tell me so! No artistic effort ever matches the ideal in your head (everything that exists is imperfect) and it is impossible to please every critic. All of these books tell me that the writers who are successful just work on despite the rejections that anticipate receiving, writing through the anxiety. But most people who want to generate creative work let themselves be stopped by the frustrations which are real and painful.

So, I guess I need a thicker skin or a bigger ego or a singlemindedness that will keep me working despite knowing that whatever I do will fall short of my advisers' hopes for me (this attitude is not me being a fatalist but what I've experienced over four years of working with them). I guess I need to stop seeking their approval and yet I literally can not move forward in the process without it, I can't take the next step until I get their okay.

So, I think I need to put on my bitch face and channel some of this despair into anger and put that into my work. Not the most positive approach but maybe it will help to light a fire from these burnt coals of my career.

Hey, I guess I did find something to write about...a good size dose of self-absorption but isn't that what blogs are really all about?