I asked a friend about that, why, and she said that we all have to hustle, try so hard, push so hard for even just the smallest accomplishments as a writer or artist or both- that we find we can't afford to set time aside for relationships. While we rest, somebody else is tweeting their book, pushing their reading, spreading their name around, networking, connecting with people that can HELP THEM. Oh yes- and then showing off the results. Look at all my friends, look at the "likes" when I post clever things on facebook, look at how I work it! I'm getting somewhere. I'm valid. Sounds to me like fighting for crumbs, and forgetting the joy in the mix.
Listen, there is nothing wrong with being proud of work. There is nothing wrong with sharing what we do. Our real friends want to know, as we want to know what they are doing. Right?
But attention can become an addiction. That "look at me" impulse can drive people to spend literally hours a day, not on creating but on waving arms around saying "look at me". Not writing, not working, but attention. I hear people say you HAVE to do that. That is "the game".
I don't want that. If that is the price to pay to feel better about myself, I'll just take the suck and a cup of coffee, thank you.
Who knows where the lines are drawn between dedication, commitment, motivation, and self absorption. Working for this sense of audience, real and imagined, always hustling. For what? "Because writing is my passion!! Who I am!" Well, then let's do more of it. Facebook ain't writing. Writing is writing!
I am almost forty years old, and over the summer- near my birthday- I started thinking about some of the stuff I have been doing with my time. My spare time, with work and family, just feels so damn precious and there I was trying to do all of these things. More, more. And each thing, no longer approached with energy and enthusiasm, but with a sense of stress.
I'm too old to get excited about "titles" and I don't care if I sit at the table with the cool kids in the cafeteria. I never cared. I don't want my causes to be gimmicks, my regard for others to be phony backscratching, my favors to be currency, resentments to mount from kept scores. My ego needs something, but it is something else.
I have cut back on a bunch of things, trying to reset myself to an earlier point where I felt that things were manageable and happy. Maybe not happy, but the belief in the work made me want the stress. Stressing over things you love to do feels good. Stressing over what other people want you to do feels like shit.
I tried to explain on the last radio show that I wasn't stopping out of anger, that anger or frustration in a moment is not a good reason to quit things if you love them. I cut back because I needed that evening back and had not gone anywhere on a Thursday night in six months. That might not sound like a big deal, but there were times where it was. It was a commitment, and commitments, whether big or small, add up. And things in my life were adding up to huge chunks of my time. And money. And I was missing other things, also important to me. I haven't quit anything in anger or lack of interest or lack of enthusiasm. I am cutting back because I need more sleep.
So yeah, I have a bunch of readings coming up, and travel back to the bay area, and Ohio, and New Mexico. I have trips and cool things, and "stuff". I have things to plug, links, things going on.
But what I am looking forward to the most is spending time with friends, family, sharing, and connecting.
In the meantime, I will be working on the digital archives at Full Of Crow, and the upcoming Poetry, Fiction, Reviews, Blink Ink issues, interviews, etc. Editing fiction still at Red Fez. Travel plans. 100K Poets For Change, good things, important things.
The Bitchez Brew site is up: www.bitchezbrewreview.com.
New stuff at Full Of Crow: www.fullofcrow.com
Poetry, Fiction, Blink Ink in October. New Interviews. New books, new reviews.
New issues every month at Red Fez: www.redfez.net
If you want to get a hold of me, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org