Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Goodbye "Self": Hello Sun.
ABOUT THE SUN, the only real role model worthy of emulating, and the continuing woes of the unsung poet who wants only to SHINE
From a journal entry, 1998:
NEVER SAY DIE. The day will come when I will be acknowledged and a readership granted me. The trick is it seems to just get up after every fall, brush yourself off and resume the attack once more, with all the vigor and dedication of the last time. Each assault must indeed be as the first. A struggling writer can have no memory when it comes to rejection and brush-offs (or just plain being ignored), otherwise his frustration and disappointment will lead to a bitterness and despair that will eat away at him steadily and relentlessly until there is nothing LEFT. Above all he must tell himself constantly that he is only playing the game (because it’s the only game there is), and that whether he wins or loses—is ever published or acclaimed—is finally immaterial; what counts is his perseverance. So long as he knows what he is doing has worth and meaning, he will prevail. Indeed, the proving fire of the artist—as much as his own emotional anguish and sorrow in love and in life—is this period of unrecognition, oblivion, in which his only solace and encouragement comes from the very same genius which torments him and compels him to go on creating, against all the odds, to go on howling in the void. And even his doubts serve as part of this process of discovery: they serve to throw light on the rock of certainty upon which all his acts are based. There is no one who can tell me that vision is not mine; poetry speaks for itself, and wisdom holds forth even as it keeps its silence. Time has no dominion over it.
Eight years after first writing the above, and if I am honest, not much has changed. Since then, I’ve had four books published, a piece written about me in Fortean Times, the occasional online review, a piece due to appear in the Guardian, countless emails from devoted readers of Matrix Warrior and praise from such luminaries as Pauline Kael, Joseph Chilton Pearce, Ramsey Dukes, Kenneth Grant and Keith Gordon. And to be frank, I still feel largely “undiscovered,” and definitely underappreciated, as a writer. Which perhaps only goes to show that, so far as kudos go, this self will never be satisfied. The ego is a black hole that can never be filled.
And after all this time the question remains the same: does it even matter what “the world” thinks of what I do, even if I do it expressly to get “its” attention? Isn’t that just a subterfuge of the Id to keep me creating? After all, is there really any difference between a writer trying to find his or her “audience” and an infant trying to get mommy to notice it? Both come down to the same thing: “Look at me!”
I was whining to my brother (the semi-famous Sebastian) the other day about being a king without a crown (i.e., no one reviews my books). He responded that I had a crown, I just couldn’t see it. And isn’t the best kind of crown the invisible kind, that only a select few who get close enough to notice, and with the eyes to see, ever know about it? Isn’t that the kind of crown I want for myself? Or do I really want some big, gaudy, ostentatious thing weighing heavy on my head and attracting attention (mockery as much as reverence) everywhere I go? Like Elvis in his later years, or wacky Jacko? No fear.
Sovereignty comes from within, from being true to ourselves, from expressing — radiating — our inner (soul) natures to the fullness of our capacity. The joy of a performance is in the _expression and not the applause. The Sun shineth not in order to be worshipped. The Sun is worshipped simply for shining, never giving a damn about who it shines upon, much less what kind of reviews it gets.
I have just about worn myself out writing books and constructing web sites and sending emails trying to get NOTICED. Now I am going to try one more time to give all that up and say “DIE!” to the ego, so sad and insecure in search of aggrandizement from a world that never gave a damn. Said world is only any good to the artist as a foil, and it only ever really inspires us to create via its complete indifference. In which case, I am doing just fine being ignored. The virus that does its work unnoticed, is the virus that can really do some damage.