how mad will I get that no one’s reading my stuff?

I started this post hoping you would read this:

but with regard to the notion of being mad that no one’s reading my writing…

this is part of the question I’ve been living into: do I need a walking partner on all my mental drift? Isn’t this all Morning Pages, stream of consciousness, whatever comes up, an adventure, a pastime, terror, fear, love, onlyness (the only way I can go), practice of letting go, disappearing into the swirl pulling me deeper into the void and up to the cosmos, a shedding of my old self?

Oh how I used to want to bare my soul, as if it would do anything. Now there is more live feed of courageous creative personalities dancing naked in public than you can tune into — we’re drowning in media, in other people’s pictures and voices, no gatekeeper or tastemaker stands a chance at making a drumbeat and keeping a public, an audience, together. Everyone is on their own with the flurry of what’s available on the web-connected screen. So we overheat, burn out, tune out and get back to basics. I have.

I logged out of social media on my phone and laptop about a month ago and have not had to resist any urges to go back; it is hard, because there’s nowhere easy for my mind to rest: I used to rest my attention in what other people were saying, doing, thinking: that became a safe place. Now I embrace the rough road of realizing I have to make my cognitive comfort myself, and become myself completely, no leaning on anything but the work of making the ground as you step onto it.

The question of “who’s coming with me — and what happens when no one is?” may be the fundamental one to my writing work and voice. Perhaps the individual does not choose his destiny, it is given to him and he must accept it, for it is the only way. So: I am a man on earth writing down what it’s like to be alive.

Every strike or brushstroke I make into a blank space is the capitulation of what it is like to be anyone.

Every new line is an attempt at aphorism, or maxim, a la François de La Rochefoucauld, a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. Now there’s a bio! I also like Johnny Clegg’s: dancer, anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight. Oh, the nouns are getting fewer and fewer of what to be! Perhaps I am almost at my most central; and yes, I am unhinged chaos incarnate, a rambling drunkard, a manic street preacher, a graphomaniac, a homeless man who won’t stop talking who some might call crazy — and I’ve written before here in a Medium post (not well enough I feel, so I won’t link) that the difference between an artist and a crazy homeless person is the artist knows where he stands in the lineage; he has perspective on his own work and can talk about it — perhaps, it’s that he sees his life like work, and serious work.

I used to lean on saying these things when I was younger, perhaps as an excuse for not getting a job (which was due to not wanting a job — in early 2015, I could not convince a hiring manager at an advertising agency at which I had a final-round interview that I actually wanted to work there writing copy for mobile advertisements ~ M&C Saatchi Mobile, now there’s a name I haven’t said in a long time. Should I go and dust off my notes from that time?

aww, this is so cute!

9.12.15 Full Project Update
88 iCloud Notes
Pages: 2,722
Words: 738,476
Characters (no spaces): 3,511,951
Characters (with spaces): 4,222,534
Paragraphs: 31,406
Lines: 97,304

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” — Michelangelo

gosh, this “2700-page canvas I constructed somewhat automatically
like a young planet, I have been a molten ball of magma, spinning hot and hard until I collapse” is something I would share with anyone — it’s a memoir of my time in Kansas City and New York and a bit of a return to California, my life from 2012 to 2015 which was pretty raucous and full of fun, meaning, philosophizing, noticing and a fundamental grounding in curiosity about the arts and the life of any artist or writer — the guts it takes, the daily ritual, the repetition, the solitude and obscurity, the lack of funding, the ultimate emptiness of getting recognized in magazines (I did mention The New Yorker and The Paris Review in a phone call today, though I know writing the next thought is more important than any external event)…freedom to drift where the mind’s eye takes you, where the rememberer (like the governor) is going: and of course all is best when the governor and editor and judge are ripped out, the socket bleeding — yes, throw away your social media and work email, and what’s left is soul. Do you have it? Are you in touch with the inner voice? Surely you have one like I do and we are the same, and I am your counterpart over here with the guts and balls and rage and faith to follow my intuition rather than the money even at the advanced age of 33⅔ ~ and I know I set myself up as an enemy and adversary of every other man my age who sees and hears what I’m doing (reckless abandon of practical considerations) and scoffing: you can’t do that; it’s impossible…how on earth are you going to support yourself? Perhaps I’m living the #resistance against capitalism, or something else, it could have many names, and really it’s about a conversation (and I understand writing is an avoiding conversation: it’s a conversation with oneself to occupy oneself when one is not, what, courting more business deals, trying to fill the lack of money and certainty? I think wanting security and guarantees and “enough” is a losing battle, and eventually every man tires out and realizes the way to his destiny is quieter, slower, monkish, separate — no other man has his blueprint, the only path to follow is your own.

I’m just becoming a different kind of person, and so can you.

What happens when you interrogate yourself? What happens when you begin to call into question your tacit assumptions and unarticulated presuppositions and begin then to become a different kind of person?

which reminds me of the book where I found that: Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. Revisiting that now! (See how I lead myself through my day, remembering and writing the path I took? To eschew this impulse would be to become a safe thing, not what I truly am; in other words, the only safe way is to become completely and unutterably yourself so that when you are on the phone or with someone who “gets it” like you do, you can recognize how you are suspended in timelessness, formless, shapeless, a floating eyeball, and death and debt and brand and the internet haunt you no more — you’re free from expectation because you’re open, nothing can harm you, you’ve already conquered every dementor you could meet in this life.) Is this the universal voice? I’m also an upstanding member of the creative community; even though I have opinions, I hold them lightly. See? Here’s proof I am real:

I have been polite, good-looking, well-spoken, intelligent — on the other hand, disobedient, incorrigible, singular, unpredictable, unmanageable, refusing to do what he doesn’t want, refusing to worship what he really doesn’t revere or find “worthy.” Yes, he has his own values — I would have had to kill him to survive in corporate America and populate my days with polite video conferences with polite people trying to climb the ladder to supposed security and fulfillment through a position in a hierarchy. I have a full LinkedIn profile of my experience in companies playing the game. No more. However, I am still young in my experience in the field of writing and art. Still I tremble to use the nouns and proclaim that I am in the arena. It takes bravery; it takes standing on the thousands of full days behind me now. And it takes a tenacity and a surrender to the fact that I will never be satisfied, never arrive, maybe never be celebrated, recognized or even read during my lifetime — it’s a competitive media landscape: lots of posts, newsletters, feeds, books, shows, movies, concerts, theater, opera, news, analysis and cultural commentary is vying for your next cognitive bite. It’s rough out there for a creative personality who is one of one. But so it goes ~ you go on no matter what, one foot in front of the other, word by word, believing in yourself — and your flesh shall become a great poem, but only you are reading it; only you are paying attention. Taste is something everyone has alone. No one can really be met in their solitude.

So extinguishing your personality layer by layer is the only way: not compliance, but adventure.

So I suppose I am a poet of self-actualization, the thrill of being skinned bare and letting the cold air sting you, and living in the sting, accepting no one can come on the spiritual journey with you — sitting in Church is a lie (to me), one hears and processes the gospel alone in one’s own head — though creative collaboration is a thrill; maybe all I need is the prospect, the possibility of it, the sense of the potential to collaborate; the sense that the world is not, in fact, over.

inventing myself again & always. Writer, singer, thinker, artist, vessel, judge. Mains: Smule, Patreon, Substack, Medium, Tumblr. Others/all: linktr.ee/gplewis