(A kinda funny, but mostly serious post…because they can’t all be doggos.)
Ok, one doggo.
It’s very hard to admit this. I try to deny it, to rise above it or work around it, but I’m done lying to myself. I’m done lying to you.
I have succumbed to the Dark Side.
I am only productive when I am angry at something. I need something to focus my loathing, or some other negative trait, on something in order to get anything done. I wrote my first novel because I was pissed at the crap that was getting published by the major companies. I lost 140 pounds because someone said that I couldn’t. I succeed to prove others wrong.
I can’t write out of joy. I have to write out of hate. Only when my heart is full of grit and worms and hot garbage that smells like Manhattan in the middle of a mid-80’s summer can I create anything worthwhile. Otherwise I sit around and do nothing, or worse, have writer’s block.
And I hate it.
And ironically (or fortunately) that hate of my process, or just regular self-loathing, is what keeps me going. I am never be calm, because writing makes me calm, but I have to be pissed to write. It’s a cycle or hate, satisfaction, and more hate.
But maybe if I embrace it instead of fighting it, maybe that will give me the control to turn it on and off. Instead of falling into the Dark Side, I can control it (oh, and if that isn’t a recipe for disaster cake). Maybe it’s like a football player putting on their game face. I can focus all of my rage into a hat, or maybe a jaunty scarf, and put it on when I need to.
(Yes, that is actually me. I’m a Jets fan. No wonder I’m so full of rage.)
A jaunty scarf would be nice.
So I find things and people to be mad at and about. I harp on my own weaknesses and frailties (of which I have many, though I’m apparently very good at hiding them because no one believes me when I say that I’m awful) to fire myself up. I bleed all over the keyboard.
And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. No wonder so many artists are miserable.
There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Mark Twain, or whoever made the meme feels like giving it to. It goes “write drunk, edit sober.”
I don’t write drunk, I write angry. As for editing, I’m usually calm when I start editing and ready to shoot myself afterwards. Or Force Choke myself.
Ah, the power of the Dark Side.
Wanna see the results of my self-loathing and rage? Check out The Watchmage of Old New York or Song of Simon, not to mention one of the many short stories anthologies or journals you’ll find me in (or old articles from back when I used to write non-fiction). But mostly, the books. Read the damn books. Or don’t, it’s okay. I know that you’re busy, and there’s a lot of great stuff on Netflix.
Look! I even made cute little ads: