I’ve had cause over the last two or three months to reflect on my artistic failures over the years. I’ve thought about it a lot and I sincerely believe it’s been God’s way of reminding me how far I’ve come in the last couple of years on my novels, and that if I work hard and don’t give up, I might very well succeed. I don’t think I’ve really worked terribly hard at anything previously, even things I’ve really wanted, but I’ve worked hard on these books and I will continue to do so.
Along with my failed artistic endeavors, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my social anxiety (medically diagnosed) and Asperger’s (self-diagnosed) have affected my life. The two certainly go hand-in-hand, as I was thinking about when I was in college and was a copy editor at my school newspaper. Every spring they did a parody issue and I spent spring break writing two articles to submit for it (As well as writing a script for a sketch show for the public access station at which I was interning. That show never happened). Then, when the time came, I chickened out. I couldn’t submit them. One of the editors, who I was somewhat friendly with, even asked me if I had anything, and I still couldn’t say I did. All that work trying to write funny stuff and nothing came of it.
The funny thing is that when I finally started seeing a shrink about my anxiety the arm spasms went away, never to be heard from again. I looked it up the other day and, sure enough, those kinds of spasms are connected with anxiety.
I suppose the fourth thing would be my short story collection Puppet Shows. All I ever wanted was to publish a collection of my stories. I wanted it for nearly ten years. I emulated short story writers like George Saunders, Ryan Boudinot and Arthur Bradford, wanting to get my writing into the journals that they were in. I succeeded in just one, getting into Monkeybicycle, which Boudinot had been in. And even though I was never published in any literary journal that anyone had ever heard of, I had confidence that my stories were good and funny and would be great in a collection.
Or not. Sorry.
As I said, freaking Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman had stuff in there, but also David Cross wrote the forward to that issue. And, AND! A couple of writers in that issue went on to become pretty huge: one wrote for SpongeBob SquarePants and Adventure Time, another won an Emmy for being a writer and producer on Bob's Burgers. The rest of the contributors list is like a Who's Who, for Pete's sake. If not for this darn social anxiety and Asperger's, that could have been me by now. And why not me? Didn't some baseball team use this as their mantra recently? Why not me? I mean, I know this blog wasn't funny. At all. But click somewhere and read something I wrote. DO IT!
Because I'm special. I'm talented. I'm great. And, to quote another great man, Stuart Smalley, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me."
I think that last part's true. I can name at least a half dozen people who like me. Sure, my kids would be two of them, but not all kids like their parents.
I mean, as I droned on about two blogs ago, Zouch Magazine called me "the witty American writer," and said I wasn't just a "comedian," but a "philosopher."
I'm freaking Voltaire. I'm Thomas Bloody Aquinas, dash it!
And I'm, once again, going on far too long. Of course, part of looking only to the future would be letting this dumb BlogSpot blog die. I did delete like a hundred entries recently. Oh, crap! The kitchen's on fire.