Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a celebrity writer. Ever since I heard about J.D. Salinger getting to be a complete recluse but still receiving lots of adoration from society anyway. And for some reason I never thought it would be all that hard. I figured it was probably my destiny.
So I went to Sarah Lawrence College to study writing, and tho kinduv clueless at first, I started to get the hang of it, and eventually some teachers and students told me I was good at it. Great, I thought, I’m on my way.
And then I discovered the Beats and wanted to become a specifically counter-cultural celebrity writer. This way you didn’t have to get the acceptance of mainstream society, but a smaller yet passionate following of people would adore you just for being your true and uncompromised self. So I went to Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School for my MFA, and some teachers and students thought I was good. Great, I thought, I’m still on my way.
After graduation I got into the Boulder/Denver writing scene, and the open mic audiences and many of the local literary people thought I was good. And I even started getting published and asked to feature and host events. Great, I’m getting really close to it now, I thought.
But then something happened. I won’t bore you here with my theories on why, but after years of writing one day I looked around and realized I wasn’t any closer to becoming a celebrity writer than I was at the beginning. A lot of the old people who thought I was good and published and featured me had disappeared, and it was harder to find new ones to take their place. Uh oh, I thought, I’m going nowhere now.
Others in this spot might’ve doubled-down and tried harder, others might’ve given up entirely. But I tapped into my Buddhist background (byproduct of adoring Beat celebrities) and tried to find a new way to approach things. What if it doesn’t really matter if I’m a celebrity writer or not? Maybe I’ll keep writing just for myself.
I won’t lie, I’m still struggling with a need for adoration, and maybe always will. But maybe it has less urgency now, and maybe this is what I need to keep writing at all.
Everything in this book is from this era of reckoning with my writer’s life. I’m sure it’s something alot of creative people go thru, but it’s also for anyone who didn’t become what they thought they’d be, and hope that’s alright.
- Are you a writer, and/or feel like there’s something strange about your neck?
- Have you ever released a creative product into the world, and/or wish you could be adored for doing nothing?
- Do you believe in the power of poetry, and/or gotten a speeding ticket/fear mass shootings/could use a windfall of cash?
- Do you not want people to notice you, and/or hadta read Frankenstein in school?
- Have you ever felt like you had IT, and/or get spooked by someone who’d just gotten outta prison?
- Do you wonder whether this is your time, and/or have dealt with older loved ones kinduv losing it?
- Have you ever been called the best at something, and/or like balloons?
- Have you ever been envious of someone else getting attention, and/or want oral sex/publication?
- Are you an intense personality, and/or went to art camp as a kid?