Strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing. BOOM. ( Anne Lamott write up at Brain Pickings)
I read this article/interview of Ethan Hawke the other day and how he’s still taking himself very seriously. His attitude about it being that if he’s taking himself seriously, at least that’s one person. Katharine Hepburn said, “If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
I used to get on here, my webpage, as in mine, belonging to me, and ramble and cut loose every now and then, and sometimes, it would be pretty hilarious. Sarcastically so, sardonic, pointedly perhaps, and sometimes what I was getting at went over some people’s heads, (Ironically because I’ve missed a lot of things that way, though they were usually insults directed at me…)but, I could be pretty funny sometimes. The problem with that was, humor is a pretty subjective thing and you can’t necessarily predict how anyone is going to interpret it. The fact is, everything ( except their own lives) is a joke to some people. But, you joke around and then they think it’s okay to be jerks, as if my being humorous, or posting anything at all, were an invitation to asshattery. I ended up removing a lot of those posts. If you ask most people if their life is a joke to them, they’re going to tell you no.
I can get too serious. No, really, I can. I take my writing very seriously. I do consider it to be my “work” and my art. If anyone looking at the work I’ve produced in the last two years, even just the amount of it, can look at that and think that I’m just playing at this, that I’m not serious about my writing, then there’s nothing I can do about that perception anyway. If I’m making it look easy to make books, well, that’s just how tough it is and how hard I’m working at it. Yeah, because I just write a story and then push a button and it’s a book, ready to go. Not quite. Anyway, obviously it’s not cool when someone is giving you grief when you are essentially minding your own business doing your own thing enjoying yourself. “Oh, there’s a butterfly and it’s flying and it’s pretty, let’s go get the gossamer off its wings! For kicks!” Well, those kind of people can fuck off. Seriously, they can. I’m not saying that in anger, just matter of factly. It isn’t news to most of the decent humans in this world that there’s no shortage of jerks. Generally speaking, it’s best to simply get on with one’s life. But, occasionally, people aren’t being jerks so much as they’re misunderstanding something so sometimes, it bears mention. As in, they actually don’t realize they aren’t being funny and that their nonsense isn’t welcome or is causing someone discomfort or grief. If my joking around every now and then, or putting a howling wolf picture on my webpage, makes some people think I’m not serious or, that it’s okay to behave like buffoons, that is their problem. (And let it further be said that if you’re harassing someone who works in the arts, writer, actor, musician, etc. you are attempting to interfere with their ability to WORK. If you went into a grocery store and stood there hurling what you think are jokes or saying things like “You don’t even know how to count change back!” at the cashiers, well, you wouldn’t be allowed to. You would be removed. You say to yourself, “Oh I’d never do that to someone. That isn’t right, even if I don’t like them, that’s their job!” Well, this is my art, my work, and whatever you think of it doesn’t change that fact, this is my work. If someone came into your job and started interfering and harassing, they would be removed, at the least. Think about that. Is that who you are? And, newsflash, being a troll isn’t the way to make friends or ingratiate yourself with someone, least of all, a writer.— You may read that as my likely wasted attempt at getting through to bunch of cowardly fucknuts who have no dignity, no shame, no self-respect, and whom are unlikely to acquire any as that would require self-awareness, introspection, and personal growth, otherwise known as at least a marginal degree of intelligence.) As funny as I can sometimes be, I can be a great big frosty bitch too. Keeping in mind that it isn’t my nature to be a great big frosty bitch and I don’t like having to be that way, but, I can. But here’s the thing, I don’t have all this people pleasing in me anymore. I just don’t. There are bridges I’ve burned for good in all this. I’ve always been a great big fan of mind your own business and I’ll mind my own business. With the exception of the man I love, who has been telling me for years that life is going by, I just don’t.
I’ve conducted a thorough exploration of my people pleasing tendencies and they go back a long, long, way. I mean, it’s been shocking even to me to realize the scope of it. And the thing about that is, it’s really kind of useless in that so much of it is lost on the people we think we’re trying to please, and so many others take advantage, and then there are those who sense it as a sign of weakness, it all ends up being pretty useless. It isn’t about, “Oh, like, so now what, you’re just gonna be a bitch?” No, dudebro. Nope. It really is about that Anne Lamott quote. What got me about it were the words “big juicy creative life.” I kept thinking about it. Big juicy creative life? That sounds good. I want that.
Some people are going to jump right on the part of that quote that says “memoir”, because they’ve got listening problems, and that isn’t the point of the quote. We take these great leaps and lurches forward sometimes without even realizing that we are. When I talk about something like this, I am not reminiscing, I am talking about my evolution and growth as a writer. Imagine a surfer telling you about the first wave they caught and rode standing up on the board, discussing the progression of their skills, that took time, that took practice.) When a friend was trying to write a metal song, I wanted to see if I could write a metal song. When I was trying to write crime stories and then horror stories I was having trouble writing violence because I loathe it, and have I mentioned how much I don’t like vampires? But, then not only did I write some stories with violence in them, I wrote a complete novel about vampires. You know, a few years ago I was arguing or ready to, that “Twilight” to me is a Noir film, my favorite time of day, a song by The Platters ( Twilight Time), but that as far as I was concerned, it had nothing to do with vampires. I was thinking about that last night. I was thinking of this title for something, or the idea of “Taking Back Twilight”, you know, because, I hate vampires! But then I had to kind of laugh at myself because in that very moment, I realized, I can’t go back. What was the reason for challenging myself to write whatever it was, all those things? What was the point? So I could then just not ever write them again? So I could write (only) the same stuff I was writing before that? I hadn’t really thought about that. Perhaps it isn’t about it, the writing, being one thing or another so much as it is about not having anything in my way, in the way, of having a big juicy creative life.
I realized I was doing it again. ( The struggle is always real.) Well, I’ll just take down this or that. I’ll just be serious because I do take myself seriously and I am serious about my work, and if I’m taking myself seriously, that’s at least one person and… nothing wrong with that at all, taking yourself seriously, I mean. I don’t think life is a joke and I certainly don’t treat my own life as such, and, I don’t treat other people like that. But, being stone-faced serious constantly, that negates this other part of myself, the full complexity and complicated intricacies of my being. Except that it’s at least in part reactionary to those who misinterpret whatever it is, to those whom I don’t find funny, to those who are, and I’ll speak slowly so they can understand it… those who are just being dicks because they need to get a life and isn’t is odd how those who are constantly engaged in being assholes are really the only ones who think they’re being funny? “Blaaah! I got you to look at me being an idiot douche bag moron!” Or it’s fearful from the standpoint of … I guess being afraid of not being taken seriously or of whomever thinking I’m “dumb” for doing things however I do them ( those who think such, they think it anyway), possibly some other things not wanting to deal with, which means that it is in some way a round about way of still engaging in people pleasing. Except that, for me, it very quickly becomes stifling. It makes me want to just put my head down or say things like, “Oh for crying out loud, don’t be so effing dull, Jan.” ( I don’t know who Jan is. My apologies to the Jans.) Then I’m reminded of the Anne Lamott quote. Something else I realized, I’d written some incredibly articulate, if I do say so myself, posts about a couple of things, that were also pretty funny, sarcastic, in places, and I realized after a few people had been somewhat insulting about what I’d written, that they were so because they lacked the ability to comprehend what I’d written, or said. I wasn’t smart enough to realize that they weren’t smart enough to understand what I’d said. There’s a lot of writing advice out there about expecting your readers to rise to the occasion but every now and then, it’s too big of a leap. If a Physics teacher was talking to everyone like they understood advanced Physics and not grasping why they didn’t, who is it that needs to figure that out? Wait… what? Perhaps we could say there are many kinds of dumb, and many kinds of smart?
Bandit: [Bandit and Frog walking through the wooded area] When you tell somebody somethin’, it depends on what part of the country you’re standin’ in… as to just how dumb you are.
Carrie: Mr Bandit, you have a lyrical way of cutting through the bullshit.
Well, I’m not missing out on having a big juicy creative life, because of whatever other people’s problems are. Ask yourself why people do that. Why they feel it necessary, when you are happy, doing your own thing, minding your own business, why they feel it necessary to visit their bullshit opinions about whatever you’re doing on you? Do you want to find out if any of the people you’ve ever known are soul sucking trolls? Become a writer! I should miss out on my life… because of what whomever else thinks? Think about that. I’m going to tell you why people do that, great big golden nugget of truth right here…. People do that because they are so deeply SICK IN THEIR SOULS that upon seeing someone else doing well, or HAPPY, they behave like envious infantile fools because of how they feel about themselves.They do it because they have no actual sense of themselves and so they have to constantly seek validation from another source and they don’t care if the attention they get is positive or negative just so long as they get it. Some people aren’t happy unless they can find a way to make you miserable, you’re that important to them. This webpage is here in support of my writing, my work, my art, it’s here because I enjoy having a webpage, no one is making anyone read it. If someone is reading my webpage and the don’t like it or what I say or how I say it, that isn’t my fault, or my problem. I do not like to ever have to be that way, the sad fact is that “Fuck Off” is the only thing some people can hear, or understand. ( You know that’s true.) If you go to a restaurant and you don’t like the food, do you keep going back? And if you do keep going back, how dumb are you and whose fault is that? Do you appoint yourself arbiter of their menu? ( Some people are like that.) Do I want to be 65 and saying to myself, “Well, not only did I not give myself the big juicy creative life that I could have had and wanted, I didn’t because of what someone else thought, said, etc., or might think about whatever it was.” Nope. All these books in two years, and I’m working on the next and the next. My wrist hurts, my neck, my back, I’m in constant pain, Blah, blah, blah. At some point I might be caught up on material ( though I don’t know because I’m still writing new as I’m publishing previous stuff) and the speed of production may slow some. I think I’m pretty serious about it all. Am I doing it wrong? Have I been doing it wrong from the beginning? Maybe. Maybe I’m breaking new ground. Katharine Hepburn wore pants. “Big juicy creative life.” ~ Anne Lamott.
“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
“Drive on! We’ll sweep up the blood later!” To a driver when throngs of fans pressed the car as she was trying to go about her business.
“It would be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack.”
as Terry Randall in the 1937 film “Stage Door” ( really a good film with a cavalcade of female stars of the era)
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