I’ve been very guilty my whole life of spilling my guts in public. Initially it was kind of a self defense mechanism, I thought if I broadcasted all my dirty laundry then there was nothing anyone could ever pull out from my past and embarrass me with. I never had to live up to anyones expectations if I was diligent about making sure they had none. I couldn’t disappoint anyone if they didn’t expect anything in the first place. That was my plan and it worked pretty well for many years. I’d proclaim ‘my life is an open book’ and pride myself on answering any question at any point, and regularly over shared. I had dreams of being the front man in some band and writing beautifully vague songs that eluded to all these stories, but until then I’d have to settle for simply writing or just telling them to people on a regular basis. I was pretty mopey most of the time and thought I could get some good sympathy points by talking about how bad off I had things. I didn’t have any money for that thing everyone else did. I wasn’t cool enough to be a part of some scene. I wasn’t good enough at that thing everyone else was. I didn’t get the girl. I didn’t save the day. These were common themes for me and I’m sure there are some horribly embarrassing high school notes out there somewhere that I wrote to cute girls who I probably had no business bothering with my shit. I’d totally post them on my blog if I still had them.
I say it was a psychological defense mechanism and I’m completely serious about that. The fear of disappointing someone can be a massive motivator for some people, it is for me at least, so I thought if I got all the disappointment out of the way early on then things could only go up from there. It also became a kind of personal therapy for me. I’d sort through my own feelings as I was trying to find the word for them. To this day it’s very common for me to start writing with one simple idea and have no idea where the piece is going until I get there. I get painfully introspective writing this drivel but when I’m done I feel better. If I was smart about it I’d just write it and then delete it or keep it to myself, but that would create the situation I was trying to avoid by building a whole body of work that at any point in my life could pop up and surprise me. There’s also something to the penance aspect of it, maybe it’s years of Catholicism from my childhood creeping in but I kind of felt that if I had done something fucked up, I should face up to it and pay the price, then move on with my life. I don’t think making someone pay for some wrongdoing for the rest of their life makes any sense and wanted to get my come-uppance out of the way when I knew it was coming. It’s a shame most of the world doesn’t agree with me on that one, I think we’d all be much better off if we didn’t have so much guilt hanging over our heads. We make mistakes, we pay for them, we move on with our lives. Doesn’t that sound like a better plan? I’m getting sidetracked there, my point is that years and years of psychotherapy didn’t do anything to make me feel better about myself, but writing a few paragraphs and throwing them out in the world for whatever praise or scorn they would bring made everything better. So I always kept that dear to me.
I wrote stories at first, then fanzines filled with mostly my own rants, and then the internet came along and I no longer had to worry about how many photocopies to make. If you are familiar with my old blog posts (circa early 2000’s) you know exactly what I’m talking about. I wasn’t very happy, and I was happy to tell the whole world all about it. Like most of my ideas this sounded great to me at the time, but when put into practice, and when put into practice over a long period of time the results got a little, well, mixed. But that was a long time ago. At some point few years ago I decided I was going to be a writer for real. Well, I’d really always been a writer in practice but I decided I was going to do it for real and write books and things. You can tell by the bookshelf full of published titles by me how well that idea went over. Truth is I couldn’t decide what to focus on and had too many ideas that seemed like the right one. I finally narrowed it down to two and started plugging away at them. I thought I’d write them simultaneously and publish them with some big 1-2 shebang. But the more I wrote, the more I saved, the more I collected words and stories the bigger a task it seemed like. I didn’t have enough, I didn’t know if I’d ever have enough. I kept writing but rather than it seeming like I was getting closer to a goal, it seemed like that goal was even further than ever. Maybe all writers go through that. Anyway, at some point I just stopped writing. I was busy and assumed I’d just pick up later where I left off. But that didn’t happen.
So now I have these unwritten books. Half-a-books. Just sitting there rotting away on my hard drive. Which is stupid. So I decided I’m going to start posting them. One at a time, one chapter or story at a time, and see what happens. Worst case situation is I publish all the text and then I’ve at least done something with it and that is that. Best case, diving back in and working through it all somehow inspires me to add more to it and maybe something more will come from it down the line. But publishing it is at least a step. It’s motion. It’s something. So yeah, that’s my plan.