Yesterday I posted a reblog about a “few words from Stephen King.” And…I made some comments. Well, as I thought more about what I wrote there, it weighed on my mind some, until a decidedly male voice in my head said “All right!” early this dark morning, as in “enough!” (Yes, it really was a voice I heard–not me speaking, as I lay in bed this morning…).
I am sensitive to people’s plights. About having difficulty in one or another area of one’s life. Of continuing to do your damned best, yet nothing seems to come from it…but what set me off on my comment to the post was the whole “I’m so different nobody understands me” piece. Sob stories. About how writers are so different, so “out in the ozone,” that no one can relate to them so “they” have to be with their own kind. I mean no disservice to Mr. King (and it’s not just Mr. King I’ve heard this particular sentiment from), not one bit. He has his opinions, I have mine, you have yours, and we’re free to agree or disagree. But it was something I clearly wanted to expand upon.
First off, if you’re a writer…and no one understands you…you have no one but yourself to blame. You obviously didn’t do a good enough job getting your point across.
That’s the ugly truth of it.
And as to whether or not a Creative Type can live with a Normal Human–I’m evidence of that. I am frequently asked how I can write what I do, and how I do not seem like what I write. Just because you write crazy, does not give you license to behave crazily in life and in your relationships. You’re Human, and all humans, every one of us, think about the weird and off-center to some degree. Thinking and doing are two different things. We’re all built to do something in the life we live, and writers write. If we can channel these thoughts and out-there ideas into publically acceptable (and sometimes not) coherent prose or poem, that’s what we do. Don’t bother trying to reverse engineer it. Figure us out. It’s like reverse engineering a gardener, a rock, or bird. It’s what that individual is meant to do, and more often than not, they can’t explain it either.
Accept it and move on.
Now, perhaps this plays into Mr. King’s “creative writing can’t be taught” statement, but it seems to me that the point of the mechanics of writing is to get something down. Communicate that something either to yourself or another. If no one is “getting” you (perhaps including oneself?), there’s an obvious disconnect, here.
Similarly, if any creative type is “too out in the ozone,” then how do they communicate with the masses, which is, it seems to me, what Creative Types do. Okay, expression of something, in and of itself, but it seems to me that most feel an overpowering distress to express their creations to others. So, if you don’t adequately communicate, how does anyone appreciate? How do you build a following so that when you do go to “like-minded people,” said Creative Type would find someone to sleep with? Okay, raging hormones, tattoos, and long lonely nights aside, would most people want to [continue to] sleep with someone that alien to them? One they just could not figure out? Continue to sleep with them after the initial fire, passion, and excitement wore off? Stranger things, I guess.
But I’ve run into–and at times felt so myself–”misunderstood” more than once in my life on this planet. It’s okay to feel the pain of what you’re trying to do not hitting its projected mark, but after the initial disappointment, all misunderstood artists need to get back on their feet and take a good, hard look at themself.
Am I a good enough artist? Can I make myself better?
Am I not a writer, but an actor?
Am I more of an activist?
Am I more the quiet, behind-the-scenes helping type?
The misunderstood writer needs to step back and analyze what’s working and what’s not, then get their ass in gear and make things better. Readjust the medium. Not bemoan and mope around the globe decrying how unfortunate and misunderstood they are (<insert tears, here>).
A Word About “too much air and light.”
I would agree…to a degree.
I think sometimes writing (or anything creative, for that matter) can become [overly] sanitized. Sometimes, I feel, perfect grammatical structure and mechanics get in the way of the story. The “rawness”…can be eviscerated from the work. Sure, you have to make your work presentable in your area of creation (novels, screenplays, totems…), but you also have to know when to stop. If you work it over too much, take other people’s recommendations too much, you kill the impact.
Go with your gut.
Don’t worry how incensed or indignant others may be about your work.
If your work is good, truly good, it will stand on it own. Others will get it. They may not like it, but they will get it. But, you just can’t please everyone. There will always be those looking to criticize something you put out there (look at me, now). Thing is, try to be respectful and open. Be willing to apologize when needed, because someone with an issue you wrote about didn’t like your presentation of it and felt you condescending.
But when it comes to your work…
Be brutal and unflinching.Don’t overwork your efforts. Don’t let too much worry about public rejection or indignation cause you to “smooth out its edges.” Dull the impact. You’re a Creative Type.
- A few words from Stephen King (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Stephen King on Writing (theengagingbrand.typepad.com)