Due to some social media sharing, (cheers for that, friends) there was a bit of boom on the ole statistic pages. We’re talking triple digits people. My ratings were comparable, if not better, than the number of viewers watching the Psychic Network at four am.
Suffice to say, the success has gone to my head. I am strutting around the townhouse like the big deal that I am. Beat that Miss Cleo…if that’s your real name. I’m also thinking of getting a fur coat. I’ll lounge in it, wear it around the office while I write my spectacular blogs and think all my important thoughts.
I’ll take big important phone calls laughing merrily with my long legs crossed on the desk. (Success made my legs longer, it happens).
I’ll make outlandish remarks like, “The reason people compare my work with Steinbeck, is not just because we are both incredible writers, but because we are incredible human beings” and “Elizabeth Gilbert got the idea of ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ from me. My hair will get larger and more bulbous. Like Amy Winehouse,when she was just starting out, her hair looked like this:
In her later years, after her meteoric rise to fame, it looked a little like this:
The hair is a perfect metaphor for ego. Mine will be so astronomical you could see it from space, and smell it from miles away…because…how do you even wash these fucking things? Oh you don’t? You eventually just lop it off in a state of drug fueled psychosis in a New Mexico motel room? Okay, just wanted to know all the facts before I really commit to trashing hotel rooms, lashing out on Twitter and shrieking “Do you know who I am?” to stray cats and telephone poles. I’m going to go the full Baby Jane.
No one liked my blog.
Well, not for a few days at least, which is kind of the equivalent on going on an amazing date, but not hearing back from the guy right away. I’m sure people read and a smile flickered across their face, but not in a way that drove them to lovingly guide their thumb or mouse towards the LIKE button. Sometimes I write a quick throw-away piece, and there’s a response. Lord knows, I post a picture of Ben Affleck, and write “I’m eating tuna melts with my husband and watching ‘Argo'”, and people are liking it all over town. Sometimes I spend quality time on a piece and then…whatever the internet equivalent is of sage brush blowing through a ghost town.
It’s hard to know what the people want. I’m feeling awfully foolish in my fur coat, wishing I hadn’t sprung for the matching hat. It’s too hot and doesn’t really fit over my enormous beehive. All in all, the silence is deafening; makes you wonder if there’s a point in going onwards.
But, is it quite possible, that it was so good, that people were just like…whoa, my mind is blown, this is cutting edge. Maybe it’s like at the ending of “Shakespeare in Love“… “Romeo and Juliet” had just been invented, and the audience does not applaud…not because it wasn’t amazing, but because it blew their minds?
Have I blown your mind? Is that what’s happening here?
Either way, I’m working on it. I have charts and graphs, and one day I’m going to figure out how to apply them to this.
In terms of success, if you try to shape your art form in a “This is what today’s kids are listening to” kind of way, it won’t work because it’s not authentic. It doesn’t sound like you. You just have to do whatever comes to you, and not take the lack of response too seriously. But it is nice to be liked. Don’t worry, that’s just your ego talking. I think ego has a place in your work, but it must occasionally be placed in the corner wearing a giant dunce cap.
If you’re lucky and have a Winehouse -type talent, I still think it’s best to have the work ethic of her back up performers; singing and dancing like they need the work, like their lives depended on it–even if she mumbled her own lyrics and snorted bumps of cocaine from the stash she had tucked in her hair. In the end–she died alone at 27 after drowning in her own demons, lying in bed, watching videos of her glory days on YouTube. That image breaks my heart. Losing grip of the things that made you the person you could have been, and knowing that the spark inside of you was wasted. So many varietals can crush spirits, lives, talent, momentum. All one can do is to stop keeping score, find quiet satisfaction in creative production–work like no one is watching, judging, liking or disliking, just tell the damn story. You’ve got to move forward, refuse complacency, and never think that your capacity for success is a star that can not rise or fall.