…or, My First Ever Bullshit Manifesto.
I am a writer. An author one day, I hope. A creator of arts. I seem to be a verb, and all that.
I have always had the need to write and create something. Over the last decade or so, it has just become painfully apparent to me that I just can’t live without writing. It is something that defines me as a person and that defines my modes of social interaction.
I’m good at writing, and I’m not so good at other forms of communication — yeah, I can attempt those, but I’m just not as good at them as I’m with writing. I prefer to write. It’s just how I get things done with less hassle.
It’s just that it doesn’t end there. I’ve started to realise that I have to start explaining other people that all of my problems probably stem from the fact that I’m a writer. Conversely, I probably have to tell people that that’s also the reason I’m succeeding.
So apologies if I have to write again — it just happens to be the best way to clear my head.
First off: There are many kinds of loneliness, many kinds of social interactions. If I look at things from a bird’s-eye view, I can easily say that I’m not a lonely person. I talk to people all the time. I feel content when I get to interact with fellow human beings on daily basis, and feel horrible when I get shut off from them for whatever stupid reason that’s beyond my control. (As I’m writing this paragraph my TV was acting up, so I’m halfway shut off from my friends on Xbox Live, for example — can’t really play too many games with them. Ticks me off, really.)
But one of the major disconnections beyond my control is a disconnection that’s bound to be there. It’s one of the fundamental flaws I have.
It’s not the kind of flaw that prohibits me from being social altogether, but it prohibits me from doing what I enjoy most about social interactions.
And it’s not something that can be easily fixed, or something that would be limited just to me. It is a creator’s dilemma. It’s a writer’s problem. It’s a good thing I spotted this thing, because it’s just so gigantic that I need to find ways to cope with the problem.
One of the real problems I have is that most of my social interactions are art. Writing and drawing are the only ways I try to get my ideas through to people. I do talk to people, but there’s only so little I can say in one go. This blog post got its start from an instant message conversation with a friend of mine, but the fact that you’re now staring at a huge blog post probably should tell you that a huge blog post was warranted.
But if I mostly interact with the society through art, that means that most of the time, I’m going to be terrifyingly lonely, because I can’t get the sort of feedback I expect.
The instant message conversation was interesting. My friend commented on my points of view. I can’t, however, expect him to make a blog post to respond to this. He doesn’t even blog, after all.
And that’s the core of my loneliness: When I express myself as a social creature through literary means, I expect literary feedback in return. People aren’t providing it, so it’s fairly obvious that I’m a rather lonely person.
I’m a person with opinions. I realise most people have opinions. The fact that I’m not hearing those opinions, for or against mine, is what makes me lonely. I’d be much happier if I knew there are people who share my points of view. Heck, I’d be much happier if I knew there are people out there who disagree.
I’m happiest when I know I’m not contributing to a vacuum. I’m happy when I notice that people are actually taking my ideas and either accepting them or rejecting them for good reasons. It doesn’t even have to be opinionated stuff; I’m happy when I’m able to inform people and I’m seeing people disseminating and acting on the stuff.
I wrote a couple of sentences to Wikipedia, and folks read it out on our national public radio, word for word. Without attributing the article, regrettably — but hell, that was me, nuggets of information I had put in to the pile, being taken by other people who wanted to disseminate that information further. I’ve listened to people quote similar nuggets of wisdom. I’ve seen people point other people to relevant Wikipedia articles which were actually written by me.
‘Tis pleasure, sure, to see one’s name in print;
A book’s a book, although there’s nothing in ‘t.
— Lord Byron
Centuries ago, people thought that getting your name in print was a good thing. Getting a name in print is no small feat — true now just as it was then.
But getting your name noticed today is more difficult than ever. With my mentality, should I even bother?
And here I see my small personality flaw — I’m that bloody writer again. It is not the artist’s job to intrude upon the artwork. I want to tell stories that explore ideas and themes and milieu, not necessarily my personality. I want to write blog posts that analyse ideas, not blog posts that analyse…
Yeah, I just noticed. This blog post isn’t about my personality, it’s about my philosophy. I guess my philosophy has just become so synonymous with my personality that I just can’t shake it off.
I’m an altruist. I write because I hope it will make the world a better place. I offer my opinions in hopes they make people to think. I contributed (and will contribute) to Wikipedia and other collaborative resources because information helps people.
And the problem with altruism is that I hesitate to ask anything back.
I write and draw, and that’s how I tell the while world how much I love them. I hope my meagre contributions are found interesting in one way or other. I’m doing this because I love everybody.
I only felt bad when I noticed I’m not contributing enough. So, here’s another promise: I contribute what I will. I strive to contribute as much as I can. I strive to be better and better.
I don’t ask anything in return. Just some feedback, if it’s not too much of a problem. If you think it’s worth paying for, fork it over. But my greatest joy is that people are actually understanding my ideas and either accepting them or rejecting them.
And getting through to people is one of my problems.
It makes me think just how thin a difference there really is between success and failure.
But there is no such thing as a true success, much as there is no such thing as a true failure.
A success without setbacks means you have only escaped those setbacks; they’ll be there and you must never forget their existence. You have triumphed for now, but the inevitability of failure must be kept in mind. Memento mori. You can never achieve true happiness in times of success; you either choose to be in denial of the averted crises and your smile will be a lie, or you can choose to embrace the possibility of failures, which compels you to either give things a positive spin in public, or focus on the art of rationalisation.
You have won today.
Failure, on the other hand, is just something that always has a grain of success in it.
Failure leads to confusion. Confusion leads to curiosity. Curiosity leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to comprehension.
I don’t expect to succeed all the time. I hope people realise that behind every finely crafted and polished surface lies a tangled web of possibilities — some of which led to succeess, some of which led to failure; some of which are there, some of which were excised. The natural state of creative process is “in progress”. Most of the good stuff happens along the way. The end results are just that, some small bits that happened to be satisfactory.
I’d prefer it if people wouldn’t commend people just because they managed to get something done. We should have more open creative processes. I love working with people who want to see some of the stuff I’m working on, because that in turn helps people to see just what goes in the process.
I guess I’m not as lonely if I have people who truly share my journey to some end point.
…I swore I wouldn’t end this blog post with a “TL;DR” thing, but dammit, here goes: creative process is really bloody lonely journey and having people who are willing to comment along the way is making me less lonely. So do it. Please.