And now, your regular update on failure…
After I decided to start my crusade against those who said failure is good, I gotta tell you, I’ve gained a few wins. Some things were based on merit, others were just the right place and the right time.
Still, I will carry on, because ultimately I know that it’s a one in a millionth chance that I will succeed in what I want to do. Many of us won’t. But our stories aren’t told.
Once in a while, Vice publishes something other than, say, a gozo piece on hanging out with prostitutes in Bulgaria, that really hits on something, especially this piece, by a failed writer.
Though I try not to be, I’m painfully aware of what has been written before, so many great books throughout history, thus I’m afraid of producing something mediocre. Desperate for originality, I overhaul the novel four or five times, splicing in photographs, quotes from my diary, song lyrics, and extracts from the books littering my desk. I also compose a 50,000-word essay about my novel, novels generally, social media, friends and family, life and death, and the desperation I have to sell it, which I weave into the fictionalized story of my childhood. I am sick of the pretence in contemporary literature and want to break down the wall between reader and writer, exposing the artistic mind and process completely so that a deeper emotional connection can be made. Why hold anything back when, with work taking over my life, it’s possible I’ll never get the chance to write another book?
If a book, essay, column is written and no one reads it, was it ever really written? Is it enough to say that you’ve completed a book? Or written a blog? I am, however, grateful for those who have read my self-published book, and I do consider that a success. But it took me literally seven years to do, and does not support me financially. Not that I did it for the sole reason of making money, but it just sets the cycle of day job vs. passions back into motion.
There’s the privilege guilt voice that tells me, “be happy for what you have,” which is a condo which I own, a job that doesn’t put me in danger, and health insurance. But it’s that vicious cycle; to have the comfortable lifestyle, I NEED to work the day job that brings me no joy and makes me too tired to write. So I could pack up, rent out my apartment, and move somewhere whose cost of living is 1/10th of what it is here, and write like crazy. But then what? Will I be okay without the comfort? Without living in a city? That’s no guarantee that things may not work out as much.
Maybe the path of a failed writer is to write about being a failed writer?