Wednesday, April 13, 2011
This is what I look like. There aren't any photos on this website demonstrating that. I honestly don't want to post too many photos of my face or me in general because it gives me a feeling of self-absorption, but one can't hurt.
There are times when writing reminds me of how as children we would place one hand or fist on top of one another to see who would go first in a playground game, like Four Square or Mr. Wolf.
I was nineteen and twenty years old when I wrote Disassociation and I had it published when I was twenty-one. And since then, the range of people's reactions has been fascinating - from people who absolutely don't care to people who want a copy strictly for the purpose of selling it on eBay in the future.
And through it all it always feels like there's a sense of intimidation (an oft-cited word nowadays, like intense and confident - I wonder why that is) that's carried with me whenever the subject's brought up. It feels like because I wrote it, there's a level of expectation that people attach to me and it never feels like I'm fulfilling it. Expectations like having an unmatchably quick wit, having incredible stories at my fingertips to tell whenever I like, of looking into my eyes and seeing innumerable points of wisdom, having a certain swagger, a je ne sais quoi. That certain something that just draws people towards you...which I don't believe in and never will.
Once when I was volunteering in a rest home an elderly woman said "Your eyes, they seem to have so much in them...".
But then again, when I was volunteering in a different rest home I walked by an old man who looked at me and kept saying "It's all your fault. It's all your fault."
What I feel I've cultivated with publishing Disassociation is intimidation...and jealousy, which is what I never wanted to follow me. This is why I don't immediately bring it up in conversation - I've noticed how it creates a barrier between people. I can't have any more barriers, but at the same time I don't want my writing life to become a secret identity. This is yet another dichotomy in my life that I've had to contend with.
There's no doubt that the novel is juvenilia, which people generally don't want to read. I don't take offense to people who say they'll buy the book or read the book and then don't - I have my reservations about empty pleasantries but they're par for the course in our society. Even the title itself is challenging - the word 'disassociation' exists but it isn't normally used, the word 'dissociation' is used. I like the challenge of the title, but people could easily see it as a huge spelling error when it wasn't meant to be.
And I've changed since publishing it. I've greatly changed from being a teenager. But I haven't changed drastically.
The life I live has always been lonely, and writing feels like it only increases that pressure. Where the girl whom I'm in love with and is two years younger than I am thinks I'm too sophisticated for her. Where writers are expected to be lonely in order to continually create. I've had to fend off the ugly premonition that I've been alone for so long, I've become too used to being alone.
And people might think I'm revealing my weaknesses, and therefore can't be an artist of any worthwhile measure as a result - with the word 'artist' not conforming to the higher-status platform that others use it for. But this is real.
One of my flaws is that I dwell on the negative too much, and this post reveals that. I've had a lot of support from a lot of people in my life as well. I won't lie, I need people's support in order to maintain my work ethic and drive. Even though I've had to depend on my own resolve a lot more than others, I can't say that all I need is myself. I don't find that healthy.