My favorite scene from The Americans is at the end of season 3….when Phillip, in disguise, is feeding some bullshit to his contact on how he justifies his actions. Finally he breaks down and says “you know, I just feel like shit all of the time”. It made me chuckle.
I don’t feel like shit all of the time, mind you. Now that I’m not writing all of the time, I feel better than ever. I fuckin hate writing. If you’re a writer and you don’t find it a curse, then you’re not a real fuckin writer. If you hate something and you stick with it anyway…that’s how you know you love it. I don’t make the rules. But you do have to walk away from things from time to time. Writing was making me feel like shit, so I stepped away.
I’m loving life again. Unfortunately, writing is my burden. It’s like having children. I’m not saying that I’m a great writer, or a mediocre one. In fact, I think I’m downright terrible. But writing is my child. As shitty as it can sometimes be, I still love it. Thankfully I won’t be arrested for neglect should I choose to abandon it. I’m able to walk away. I can breath fresh air, live under the sun. I don’t have to worry about paying child support, changing diapers, or any of that shit.
However, some don’t take that approach. Writers are a shitty group of people. “You got to write everyday!” they keep telling me. Fuck that. I suppose that any skill can be learned, but when it comes to the arts…you either have the passion for it or you don’t. Art isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a skill to be marketed. It’s an expression. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t force some bullshit out. Sometimes the voice of passion is reaching out, sometimes (most of the time) it isn’t. And that’s okay. It’s okay to walk away.
I’ve began to ignore the “self-help” gurus. Well, actually, I never paid much attention to them. I’ve probably mocked them more than once on this blog. Unfortunately they’re everywhere. They’re pests. They’re experts on nothing. They’re con-artists. They’ve managed to convince us that they’re a “genius” in a given field. But they all sound the same: 1. You’re the problem. 2. Change your shitty attitude. 3. Work harder. 4. Huff paint. 5. Eat Shit. 6. Blah. 7. Blah. 8. Blah. There, you now know their secrets. We’re all insecure. We’re afraid that we aren’t making enough money. That our friends will be more successful than us. That we’re losing some imaginary race. That’s why these gurus are so prevalent.
We’ve convinced ourselves that “success” is a thing. That there’s objective criteria for meeting it. But we know that’s not true. We know that most of our motivations are for some empty pursuit. Instead of entertaining that voice inside of our heads warning us that “this is stupid” or “who cares”, we jump into the race to nowhere. One day we will die and most of the things we do will be for naught. Everything you earn you can’t take with you. The history you leave behind will one day be forgotten. Then one day will be the last day. The universe will collapse into a singularity and will expand again. On and on this goes, for no reason at all. We are nothing in this infinite expanse. Whatever success we think we’ve achieved ain’t shit.
So what’s the purpose in all of this? Well, it’s obvious: there isn’t one.
I think a better question is: what should we do with this useless time? Do you want to spend it fretting about frivolous bullshit? Concerning ourselves with a legacy of success that will be forgotten and without purpose? I don’t know about you, but my answer is NO. Despite my convictions on nothingness, life (and consciousness) is quite remarkable. We’re self-aware “star stuff” as Carl Sagan liked to put it. That’s a gift from the cosmos and most of us waste it on doing shit we hate.
Do whatever the fuck you want with this information. But I’m tired. So I’m walking away.
I’m done. Until next time…