As I pack to get ready for the convention, I realize that I will physically face a number of people for the first time since starting Writing About Writing. This actually fills me with a looming sense of dread.
To be fair, it's a very mild sense of dread. Very unlike the level of dread one gets when realizing the old man might be right about that moon being a space station. More like the sort of dread one might get if one realizes one didn't put away the remaining quart of milk after breakfast this morning.
But I do have this fear--which I recognize is probably more than a little irrational--that all the people I respect the most, many of them professional writers themselves, will see me and say things like "Boy Chris, you are one pretentious little bastage, aren't you? Thinking you have something to say about writing..." Or even worse "I was mildly entertained until I realized how many commas you forgot. Then I thought 'why am I listening to this HACK?'"
Or even worse...silence. And in the quiet I will imagine the worst. Trust an artist, with their inflamed creativity gland, to imagine that lurking in every shadow and behind every corner are demons ten times worse than any they've actually faced.
This is not my fucked up way of soliciting praise, by the way, but rather an intro for today's quotes. It is in these moments of facing rejection that I am forced to face myself in a sort of dark mirror, and confront why I write. Of course, I quickly remember that I don't write for praise and I would write on (and, indeed, I have written on) even after rejection. I write because not writing would be like cutting off an arm. I write for the same reason people have felt compelled by creating art for as long as our condition could rightly be called "human." (Which makes me think that a book about the "Australopithecus Condition" might be kind of funny!) Art is something that artists have to do. Of course we admire the artistic urge of Michelangelo or William Faulkner, but that urge strikes even the mediocre and unbrilliant like me. We are as much its victims as Shakespeare and DaVinci.
We just have fewer groupies.
A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.Albert Camus
We have art in order not to die of the truth.Friedrich Nietzsche
True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.Albert Einstein