Listening to Tom Waits this morning.
I know, I know, darlings, not everyone’s cup of tea. He’s not tea, to me, either — he’s like Amaretto and orange liqueur and tea… like blueberry tea, I suppose.
I get it.
I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, either. Sometimes I can be too strong, too harsh tasting. But to some, I’m just the right mix. To some, I’m best served fresh, with perhaps a twist of lime to take away the bitterness. For some, a sprig of cilantro, and for others, cilantro would just ruin the whole thing (I’m looking at you, A.W.).
I’m not well right now. I’ve come to grips with that. So I’m going to avoid saying some of the awful, angry, ugly things that popped into my head this morning. Instead, I’m going to say that I took a trip down amnesia lane this morning, going through some old posts where people said all sorts of lovely things about me — Helena, mostly, but me, too.
It felt nice. Thank you all again.
I’m so wary of becoming defined by my depression. It’s funny, though, that it’s what I can write so passionately about — my malaise with the world. Seeing the world through shit-stained glasses. (How’s that for a visual, darlings?)
Anyway, fuck all that.
I’ve said it before — to you all, as well as to myself — the hardest thing in the world when it comes to being any sort of artist is finding a receptive room in which to shout into. I’m an idiot when it comes to selectivity — I want everyone to love me, unrealistically so. I’m weird. I know I’m weird. I wear my weirdness on my sleeve for birds to peck at. I crib lines from Shakespeare or Bugs Bunny with equal gravity. To some, I am a delicious dessert, to others, I am the strange taste in their mouth that they need to wash out with a cheap domestic draft. Still others find my food metaphors unsettling.
Does he think we want to eat him? Can’t he just speak plainly? I’m hungry. Anyone wanna order a pizza? No olives, otherwise, I’m good. Yeah, I have cash. Get some crazy bread, too, I’m suddenly starving. No, we’ve got beer here. Don’t forget the dipping sauce. Do you think this segue has gone on too long? Yeah, me too.
Anyhow, my point is this — and see if you find yourself in the same boat as me — when I first started out, I didn’t care who read me, but that didn’t last. Soon, I started trying to court followers, started trying to find a community of like-minded individuals. I thought that I could fit in. I don’t, not really, but I’ll get back to that. I went and I joined any and all “Indie Writer” groups on Facebook, befriended anyone with the word “Writer” after their name, and did my best to try to expand my audience.
I now know that I took the lazy path (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) and just collected people like some people collect stamps.
Nobody collects stamps anymore, Helena. Or Ken. Which is it? How would you like to be addressed?
I see what you did there. Stamps. Addressed. Clever.
You really think so?
I do. Credit where credit is due, darling.
Now I’m confused. Did you just drop deftly into dilettante-ese just now?
I am what I am, what can I say?
Lots of things, I’m sure, but you’re losing my attention. Say something interesting soon, or I’m going to scroll YouTube for funny cat videos.
I was saying that in my effort to court an audience — I think I settled for any audience, rather than the right one.
That sounds pretty fucking arrogant.
It’s not meant to — just wait, I’ll explain. Wait, come back!
Sigh. Well, if you’re still there, it’s like this: Tom Waits is a musician. By the strictest definition of the word, so’s Ke$ha. (No bias here, darlings).
But how much crossover do you really think there are among fans? Further, how much in common do you think the two would have, if you put them in the same room together?
Not better (I’m choking back an argument here, darlings. Bear with me).
So I find myself in the same situation. I don’t think I exaggerate at all when I say that every Indie Writer group I’ve found is 90% smutty romance writers. I’ve seen more naked, chiseled abs than I could shake a homoerotic dick at.
Not my cup of tea, darlings. (See aforementioned recipe for Blueberry Tea).
And not to be presumptuous…
Yeah, Helena. Who the fuck are you to presume that I can’t enjoy both mommy porn AND metafictional, non-linear, experimental horror?
Good, you’re still here. Okay, sure, you’re right. But I don’t. And let’s face it — it’s anomalous for someone to do so.
I don’t belong there. But because I wanted an audience — ANY audience — I shouted my words into any room I could find, hoping that you would love me.
But — and here’s the rub — just as some of you certainly don’t love me, I don’t love you, either.
Nope. I don’t love you all. Some of you I love, and surely you know who you are, and if you’re ever in doubt, just let me know. But I don’t love you all. Some of you really fucking suck. But you’re still here, or on my Facebook friends list. Some of you piss me off with your ignorance. Some of you just bore the shit out of me, or make me roll my eyes every time I see you post something.
I’m sure that some of you feel the same way about me. That’s fine. My skin’s growing thicker — I think it’s some sort of evolutionary process in reaction to the loss of all my fucks. All those fucks kept me warm at one point, and at one point, I could give a fuck, should a fuck be required. But now I have no more fucks to give, so that’s that.
If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know that I’m a champion of good art. Or, I used to be, until I just became desperate to be loved by EVERYONE. A strange friend of mine once chastised me for chasing the accolades of people that were ordinary and boring. She, too, is extraordinary, and I’ve been very privileged in the past to collaborate with her. People don’t understand her, either. They call her odd, or pretentious, or confusing. Her poetry blows my fucking mind — it’s difficult. It’s tough and chewy. It doesn’t go down easy at times.
So, do I really think that her audience is the same audience that will enjoy reading about Reginald’s quivering member? Perhaps, of course. But not likely.
The point (so easily confused with the period, of course, but don’t worry, I’m not quite ready to come to a full stop yet, darlings) is that these people are not only not my friends, but they are not my audience, either. So I need to stop feeling frustrated when Ke$ha fans simply can’t get into “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits.
You’re making a metaphor, right? You’re Tom Waits, right?
Your words, darling.
Further, you’re saying that there’s a difference between people wanting to support you, and people being your target audience. I mean, you’ve supported people out of generosity of spirit, even though their art wasn’t necessarily your cup of tea, right?
Yes! Exactly. But that’s exhausting. I have spent too long trying to be popular with the Ke$ha crowd.
Poor Ke$ha. Why is she your metaphor for pop culture? Has she even done anything relevant recently? Are you sure you’re not behind the times? Why not just say “Spice Girls” and be really dated?
Who’s writing this? You or me?
I don’t even know how to answer that question.
Anyhow, this is a call out for a new audience. And new writers for me to meet. If you want something different, here I am. If you have something interesting to share, here I am. I can be a good audience, when I’m not trying to court the popular crowd, with (and here’s a terrible confession) the hopes of riding their coat-tails into the light of day.
So, fuck it.
I suppose I owe an apology to those of you who do love me, and who I have not loved as best I could in return.
I apologize too much. I know. Let’s leave that topic of analysis for another session, darlings, as the clock tells me that it’s now time for me to go, and for you to get back to your lives.
Your favourite (with a U) dilettante,