Saturday, 28 November 2015

Too fucking bad



It's funny. You read articles in printed media saying 'This book reads like one of those piddling blogs on the internet no-one reads.' Or you often read a published writer claim, 'Hah, I'm so great! I read all of those unpublished novels and - ha, ha, ha! - I can tell why this piece of shit didn't get published!'

Well, fuck. I'm no fucking artist - who am I kidding? But then, people feel a need to label you and it embarrasses me beyond belief. I feel a burning need to write books. I feel a burning need to read high-brow novels and philosophy books. When people hear this, they say, with a grin on their face, 'Oh, so you're a writer!' or 'you're an intellectual!' Ufffff. I usually reply, 'no, I am a pseudo-intellectual!' Even then, when I say that I feel like I'm being unfair to myself because I really don't feel like I'm pretending or that I am trying to impress anyone. But then, I don't feel like I have the, uh, intellect to be an intellectual, nor the ginormous critical abilities, nor the knowledge to merit this label. I feel like I am limited, but still curious enough to want to look into this stuff. I try to avoid mentioning what I do with my time when I meet people now. Even then, people ask me what I do with my time and I have to be honest, no? I don't go out that much - I actually spend most of my time indoors reading. The label 'writer' wouldn't bother me so much if it meant what it really meant - just a descriptive term. But it's so fucking loaded and carries so much gravitas that it pains me to identify as one. 

I've been getting really fucking bitter of late. When I read columnists and journalists, it actually pisses me off. Most of them write so much fucking shit and write so fucking badly. Most of them don't have a line - most of them don't have anything to say. They just want fifteen minutes of fame! I actually respect those columnists who don't write very well, but they at least have an ethos, a 'philosophy.' I hold them in much higher esteem than those dullards who write these anodyne formulaic pieces which don't really say anything.

It all comes down to competition, ultimately. I am not in the slightest bit competitive. An established journalist either is where he is because 1) he was a pest and annoyed a lot of editors, 2) he published a lot of crap in university papers, took a lot of apprenticeships and arrived where he is or 3) daddy/mummy paid for his internship at a newspaper after he finished his degree at Oxford. It's not in my nature to do any of that stuff. Well, if I could do the last one I would, but my parents aren't that rich/posh and I didn't go to Oxford.

In my first year of university, I was miserable. I was in this corridor, surrounded by people I couldn't connect to at at all. They didn't really read anything - even though a lot of them studied literature. The girls completely ignored me. One of them I saw is now writing articles for the Huffington Post. (She followed career path no. 2.) When I read her pieces, I thought - 'why, just why, are you publishing this? Honestly! If you want a career, why don't you go into accounting or something?' There was another guy who stressed me beyond belief next door to me. He was very, very loud and kept me up all night. He had his pretensions. He is having some success making inordinately loud You Tube videos. They are not creative, or funny, or inventive, or anything really.

I am currently working on a novel I am 99% sure won't get published. Actually, I am pretty sure I am going to lose the faith of my current readership of 6-7 friends! Even they will lose interest! I actually think it's much, much, much better than my previous stuff, but it's just too fucking opaque and obscure for anyone to read and enjoy (anyone apart from me...). This is the kind of novel the most niche publishing house in the whole world wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Ok, that publishing house might have very noble principles, but at the end of the day they still want to sell copies of what they publish and try to profit. There is no possible demographic you could market my book to. It's a bit too much even for the most rarefied weirdo. The best you can hope for with these kind of books is to make the critics tell everyone 'Ah, this book has literary quality - read it!' When that happens, thousands of people buy it to decorate their living rooms, but they never actually read it. The thing is that my book doesn't have anywhere near enough 'literary quality' to reach that elevated status. I'm sure that it would get poor reviews everywhere - if it were even reviewed in the first place.

I mean, it's healthy to think 'look, I'll just do my own thing - if I get published, good - if not, ah well.' The thing is, when I see all of this crap getting published it does make bitter. I do want people to read my stuff. At the moment, hardly anyone is reading it. My fiction, for instance, has a readership of 6-7 people. I do think that I have some original and unusual things to offer. I really want people to read my stuff. The problem is that it is probably a little too original and too unusual - and lacks 'craft.' Too fucking bad.

The thought of having some dull job terrifies me. It means that I probably won't have time to write. The thought of doing a PHD is worse. Recently, I've stopped caring about academia - and I received the lowest mark for a piece of work since my first year as an undergrad. I'm just fed up with it. Staying in the fortress of academia is like a death sentence. But then, the glowing comments I've received for some of my essays might be telling me that I'm more of an academic than an 'artist.' Ech.

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