I am afraid that what I am about to write is really going to make some readers, in particular certain ones, angry but I don't feel I can articulate things very well without saying how I feel.
The past two to three months have been very difficult, and yet they have also been good in other ways.
Physically, I'm much better. I am one day shy of two months without a smoke; that's the longest I've gone without one in years, and I feel so much better just on that count alone. My workouts at the gym, the cardio and swimming have already been beneficial; I've lost a bit on my waist line, and I'm gaining muscle. Not a lot, but you can see some differences. Very happy with that, I am.
I have mentally, however become scattered; scatter-brained maybe. I have found myself scattered, in terms of my energy on a number of projects, and I have to refocus.
Recent events have led me to consider stopping just about everything, and returning to the writing that started it all, "Sweet Dreams: Searching for Roy Buchanan," or SDS-1 as I've often called it.
A friend whose name I'll not mention has looked at this, and also at "Take Another Road," which I've been serializing up here. This person's take has been very interesting and instructive.
I appreciate criticism, but I also fear it. Don't we all?
Too many people around me have told me how good my writing is, but why am I not published yet? Well, that takes years, in many cases. My craft is not perfect yet, never had been, and won't be.
I wonder if I have tried too hard to subconsciously make my work commercial; have I also tried too hard to incorporate what several people have told me is right, because I'm not?
I don't think anyone is saying my writing is bad; I don't think anyone is saying it sucks, but it seems every person who offers a critique only agrees on some minor points, but everything else is somehow terribly, terribly wrong.
I know this person is not trying to make my work commercial, I know it. This makes me cast my eye to others; has everyone been trying to make me over in their own image, because of what they think is right?
In the end, I take the blame/credit for how things went.
My attitude is two-sided, and understandable. There is my Reactive Side; it says:
"YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS! HOW DARE YOU PRESUME TO DECIDE YOU KNOW MY OWN MIND, AND MY OWN STYLE WHEN YOU HARDLY EVEN KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM! YOU HAVE NOT LIVED WITH THESE CHARACTERS LIKE I HAVE! YOU JUST WANT THE NEXT FUCKING 'TWILIGHT,' DON'T YOU?!?"
Something like that.
Then there is the Logical Side; it says:
"Okay...after further review, there are some valid and worthy points here. They are well-taken, and I'll think about them very hard."
I have promised this to more than one person. But we must remember something, and I have to especially: it's something Frank Zappa said on "Johnny Carson" years ago.
Paraphrashing: "The first duty is to the artist."
There was more, but that line is important. I am a writer, and I suppose an artist of sorts. I do not think I'm a great one, but I am a good one, dammit. I will do my best to present what I want to see, and what I feel needs to be presented. That is what artists do.
Not being pretentious here, trying not to; this is what I do, and what I love to do. I know what I've got, and I'll do my best to make it work. I can bend, but I will not break and do whatever it takes to get published.
Bands will record specific songs or tailor their look to get signed; the Rolling Stones had to take the hard decision of removing Ian Stewart from the band because he was too old, and didn't have the look. Thankfully Stewart accepted that decision with grace, and the Stones never forgot him for it.
I can make edits and changes, to be sure...but I will NOT compromise the idea, and what drives me.
OK...is this arrogant? Pretentious? Have I just told good friends of mine to go fuck themselves? I hope not.
This is how conflicted I feel right now...it's hard, but I've been through a damn sight worse.
Thanks for reading, and for the support of showing up and at least giving me a hearing.