Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Life of an Author

I haven't left the house in a while.  Being a writer is odd.  My work is in isolation both physically and mentally.  However, I must live on the outside in the most intense climates, canvas all human possibilities, experience the harshness, follow the sacrifice, prick and bleed the emotion in order to give an audience something worth reading.  The endless author/book/publishing projects pile up like cadavers needing to be buried.  The stink distracts me from the writing, going for a walk, or enjoying a carefree night.  My creativity lies somewhere under the rotting flesh of a book.  A "book" is a product.  It must sell just like a can of corn must sell.  So, promotion and publicity is a constant pressure.  A book is like a movie that never stops showing.  Even the most famous writers, celebrities, and political figures appear on Larry King or Late Night TV to promote their work.  A couple months ago I saw a painter on Jackson Square.  Tied to the iron fence next to his paintings was a jar that said, "Tip here if you 'like' my paintings."  It struck me how many times I have told an artist that I liked their work, but never bought a thing.  My complaint isn't with book sales.  It is with the relationship that exists between fame and poverty, social admiration and social isolation, brilliance and suffering.  I do not live a charmed life on top of a mountain where I sit in front of a fireplace with a pipe poking out from the corner of my mouth while I contemplate poetic thoughts.  I work my ass off more and more each year as I stay true to my dream to be and sustain being a published writer.  I opted out of the pension plan, 401k, dental insurance, homeownership, and having a family--a normal life.  I chose to be your poet.  Each year I gain more success while life becomes more sterile, more alienated, more disjointed.  People who I will never know about read my work, hear my story, watch me online or on TV.  I always say, "I have secret admirers, distant acquaintances, but only a handful of friends."     

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