YOU ARE A TOTAL AMATEUR

Yes. I am. And I’m scared to death.

I have this annoying (and self sabotaging) habit of collecting articles, stories, quotes, etcetera, from (or about) successful artists who were considered either amateurs, novices or talentless, in their chosen field, yet they relentlessly pursued their passion with fierce determination, despite skeptics and critics. They felt the fear and did what they were born to do because they believed in themselves and more importantly they believed in their work. Even when it became “work.” You can have a dream and all the talent God can give a human but if you don’t put in the work-it means nothing.

One of the articles I keep around for inspiration is an article written by Jerry Saltz in New York magazine, How To Be An Artist.” The article was called: You Are A Total Amateur: Five Lessons before you Even Get Started. 1 Donโ€™t be Embarrassed. 2: Tell Your Own Story, Itโ€™ll Be Interesting, 3. Feel Free to Imitate. 4. Art is Not about Understanding Or. Mastery.  5 Work. Work. Work.

Hmmm…I feel a hint of deja-vu coming on, like I might have already told this story. If I have, too bad. See above. I haven’t written in months. Months! I’m a writer damnit! Well that’s not exactly true, I did write a bunch of posts, but they’re all stuck, incomplete in drafts. This is my life-stuck in “drafts”.

Credit: Twitter

As the days progress I’m physically becoming weaker as creativity, aka my blood drains from my body. Not writing is killing me softly.

I’ve been using the state of the world as an excuse for not writing. I mean I can’t even watch the news because I can’t deal with what’s happening in this country. New voting laws, the deepening social, political and racial divisions in this country, all of which are a result of rich, scared white men seeking to reclaim their supposedly waning power and privilege.

The January 6 insurrection, which should have brought the orange bully and his thug followers to their knees, has done the opposite: it has only emboldened them and put the security of our nation at risk. You’d think these feelings would be motivation to put it on the page, but this new reality just makes me want to pick up my remote instead, crawl back into bed and find a new Netflix series to binge so I can escape it.

However, the personal is political for me. It always has been and I can’t escape it. There was a time I could consider myself bi-partisan. Those were the days of old. When we had sensible people leading the Republican party, like John McCain, rest his maverick soul. I’ll never forget the 2008 presidential campaign when he was running for President, one of his supporters claimed that then candidate Barack Obama was a Muslim, and McCain defended Obama, saying he was a good man. He didn’t exploit racism and xenophobia to propel him to office, the way Trump and his gang of racist, spineless cowards masquerading as politicians have.

These are certainly different times and these are certainly different Republicans. Today’s Republicans are a dangerous mutant species that have come to destroy civilization as we know it and thus far, they are succeeding.

The ousting of Wyoming representative Lynn Cheney from her position as leadership post as conference chair because she displayed integrity and a great deal of courage by prioritizing the Constitution over demagoguery was a despicable act of cowardice .

Can I just say that I find myriad news outlets somewhat intimidating, especially since they are all bombarding us with the same bad news-particularly the political shenanigans happening on Capitol Hill, (and there are so many more important stories to cover)but I’d say based on what we’re seeing and hearing, we are closer to becoming a banana republic than we thought possible. I’d say global instability around the world (i.e.Scotland and indyref2 ) and now, the dreadful situation happening at Gaza between Bibi and Hamas. The lives of innocent children and civilians are collateral damage in a power struggle. Bibi has to flex his muscle. Hamas has to prove a point. Innocent blood is spilled. Thomas Friedman’s recent op-ed in the New York Times “For Trump, Hamas and Bibi, it’s always January 6,” takes the words right out of my mouth. The erosion of democracy at home and the failure of diplomacy are justifiable excuses for me to forget the world, get under the covers, sip Sancerre and wait for the world to end.

Don’t judge me.

Never mind. Judge me. I deserve it. I can take it. I’m putting my big girl pants on. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself for nearly two years now, during which time my marriage imploded, I lost my job teaching (well I didn’t actually lose it-I knew where it was) I just couldn’t report to what could only be described as a gulag masquerading as a Charter School. Then Covid happened and I haven’t been able to find work ever since, and that’s all she wrote.

We seem to be making our way back from Covid, ( I can’t say I’ll be happy that social distancing will end-I’ve always hated crowds) but I’m still unemployed and I have no stories to tell, unless we count the various ideal murder(or seriously maim) revenge scenarios playing out in my head against a certain someone. I love the idea of totally random freak accident that no one would could ever suspect was premeditated. In my place, it might actually work since every dang thing in this place is old, dilapidated and falling apart, including me.

For instance, take the time I nearly lost a finger in the broken lock on our apartment door. then, there was the night I got up to use the bathroom. I was stumbling around in the dark trying to find my way and regain my balance when I was nearly impaled by a piece of wood fragment poking out of a peculiar place on the bathroom door. That would be a pretty clever way to “accidentally” kill someone. See, the whole door is full of splinters of wood and with a little time, patience and planning….

That sneaky mickeyfickey! I knew he was spending more time in the bathroom at usual, and more often at night. I thought the groans and grunts I was hearing were a result of the recent addition of kale to his diet.

Ain’t that a bitch!

Serves me right. My Grandma, God rest her soul, used to tell me if you plan to dig one grave, you may as well dig one for yourself too.

Don’t read anything into my preoccupation with murder. Although, it would seem that I’ve reached a major breakthrough and a writing prompt! The time (and rage) I’ve invested in plotting a certain someone’s unfortunate, untimely death in my head might have actually come to life on the page-the birth of a trilogy maybe? Next time I plot a murder in my head, I’ll write it down.

Credit: Pinterest

Yes. I know how that sounds. My “writing prompt” could be used as evidence in the event that a certain someone ended up dead as result of a “freak accident.” Well what do you expect from a total amateur?

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