I shouldn’t. But I do.
Takes me back to a conversation I had with my father, where he chastised me for looking down on others who say that they write. I tried to get him to understand that its similar to people who call themselves photographers just because they buy digital cameras without studying the craft or taking any classes. He said it didn’t matter. I still shouldn’t look down on them.
I still do…
What you’re about the read is from the mind of a very self-confident/defiant artist. I confess that I borderline on the edge of arrogance. But in my field, I think a little arrogance goes a long way for better or worse. You were warned.
I wasn’t always like this. In film school, my favorite writer was the Lord Byron. I admired how he surrounded himself with other artists such as Percy and Mary Shelley and have long since wished to create another movement like the Romanticists or the Beat Generation. When I used to bump into friends who told me that they liked to write, I was in awe and encouraged them to keep writing, to strive towards completion. But more and more, I found out that while these people are by definition writers, they write only as a hobby. Nowhere near my caliber.
I wonder. Is that the curse of working so hard and sacrificing so much on this path you’ve chosen? That when you hear of other people claiming to be writers without half the dedication and commitment you pour into your craft, it irks you?
And sure you’d say here, “Why does it matter if they call themselves writers? How does that affect you? If you’re secure and confident in your abilities, you should be happy to be in the company of other writers.”
I’ll tell you why it affects me. It diminishes my respect for the profession. If there are so many “writers” in this world, then it opens the question of “what’s so special about you, Rock?” Thus…a challenge has been issued.
And what’s worse! Are oblivious writers who have no idea or feigns ignorance to the competition they’re involved in. If I tell you that I’m a writer, I write books and novels and screenplays. And you respond with, oh, I’m a writer too. You’ve just put yourself in my crosshairs and made yourself my rival.
I’m not denying that there are happy-go-lucky writers in this world who don’t care about competition and write just for the sake of writing. But unless you’re writing as an outlet just to get stuff off your chest, you’re going to want readers. And readers have millions of options to choose from. To get that reader to read your work, you’re going to have to appeal to them. The same way other writers are trying to appeal to them. So guess what! Whether or not you think you don’t care about competition, those writers are your competition. Bring it!
That being said, I’ll go ahead and admit that this perspective may be somewhat sophomoric and childish (and vain), but I’m not writing to simply just to entertain the masses. I want them to write my name down in history books. I want it to be criteria that people can’t graduate high school until they’ve done reports on my books. In 200 years when they put together lists of histories greatest storytellers, I want my name to be in the top three. And screw all those stupid questions about what is success and what makes something great. It’s a waste of time to contemplate that, which can be defined in a hundred different ways.
If I’m the only one in the world who feels this way about their craft whether its writing or singing or acting, fine! But I refuse to believe that. You! You, who play innocent and pious should beware and hide yourself well. For I have been exposed and fallen prey to the worst deceivers who wear the mask of cuddly bunnies and angels while holding the dagger behind their backs. I implore you to stay away because even if you do manage to sink the blade, I guarandamntee you that I won’t stay down. I’ll recover and use the pain to my advantage. I’ve had practice. Astute is what they call me.
But you! You who suffer as I do to finish not just one, but multiple masterpieces. You who reach for the sky and demand an audience from nations the world over. You who see the trends and turn away from it to create something new on a blank canvas. You who boldly strives to enlighten, entertain and hypnotize your audience, reach into their mind and stretch out the walls making room for more…
I welcome you as friends and accept the challenge. It’s only in the company of people like you that I can push myself to grow. It’s only amongst the ambitious that I can grin without having to second-guess how evil I am. I don’t want to be the smartest person in the room. I don’t want to be the best. It’s no fun if you’re only competing against yourself.