It sucks when people tell you shit you don’t want to hear, it sucks even worse when you realize they’re right, and when you finally come around to a productive way of thinking, it sucks worst of all to know, in retrospect, that it took you far too long to realize you’ve been on the wrong track. We all have a pace with this. Mine, unfortunately, can be slower than most.
I’ve had quite a few people remind me that this site was once a pretty good thing for me. They’ve told me I’ve ruined the “brand” through a combination of laziness, a way-too-intermittent posting schedule, and a load of cryptic bullshit aimed at carrying out my own personal vendettas against people who don’t matter to the vast majority of people who still read my writing. All three of you.
Now, I’m not saying my sentiments toward the people I’m angry at are incorrect or misplaced. Far from it. I’ve been pissed off for very good reason, my anger is justified, and I’d still love to “have my vengeance in this life or the next,” as the case may be. This, however, isn’t what anyone wants to read about, especially in light of the fact that I’m not really at liberty to name names or go into specifics. Since I can’t do that, who the fuck cares? Certainly not my three remaining readers.
So, the idea is to move on. As I’ve said here on many occasions—false starts, to be sure—I want to get this blog going again. I miss it. It’s done a lot of good in my life, and I don’t want to see it sink any deeper into this swampy morass of anger and wasted focus that’s been detracting so profoundly from something that could, if I put my mind to it, be made very good again.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity, and why I’ve generally been lacking any in recent years. When I first started writing this blog, it filled a need on both sides—yours and mine. I was working as a bouncer two or three nights a week, seeing a ton of shit I wanted to tell people about in order to give myself a “creative outlet.” I’m putting that in quotes because it’s ridiculous and hackneyed, but it’s the truth. When I first created this thing, I didn’t have anything like that, and this medium was perfect for me. I had some rudimentary writing skills, I knew how to tell a story in an entertaining way, and I had piles of material to work with after every shift at the club.
For readers, the blog filled a need—or solved a problem—on multiple levels. First, it took many of them into an environment they’d never see for themselves, either because they didn’t want to and would rather see it through someone else’s eyes, or because they didn’t live in New York and didn’t have the opportunity. Next—and maybe this sounds a little arrogant on my part—it gave them a new, interesting voice that said some things in a way they’d never heard before, or taught them some things they didn’t know.
That’s the problem reading solves for me. I read because I want to learn. I didn’t write because I wanted to teach anyone anything—even I wasn’t egotistical enough back then to think in those terms—but I had something interesting to show people, and that’s why things worked out the way they did.
I read a piece the other day about entrepreneurship. In it, the author said that the entire point of creativity is to solve problems. Sometimes these problems exist on a massive scale that affect all of humanity, and sometimes they just pertain to small niche groups. Sometimes we’re painfully aware that these problems exist, because millions of people work hard every day trying to solve them. Other times, we need to be made aware of them by marketers so we’ll spend our money on solutions. Either way, it’s all about problem solving, and creativity revolves around finding unique ways to make problems cease to exist.
My problem is that after writing a book I didn’t particularly like, and then losing that entire stream of material after leaving the nightclub business, I lost my “steam” when it came to writing about anything that didn’t pertain to the work I was doing. That’s a long-winded way of saying that I stopped trying, and that I used every excuse in the book to justify simply going to work every day, collecting a paycheck, then coming home and living my life. And some life it was.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, of course, because it’s what most of us do every day. I’m not complaining about it, either. I know how fortunate I am. I went to work, I did my job, I came home, and then I called it a day and went to sleep. I didn’t, however, take on any outside projects, I didn’t write for pleasure, and I didn’t attempt to cultivate any creativity when it came to stuff like this blog, or (God forbid) thinking about writing another book.
That, however, isn’t where I am now. I want to keep getting better at this, I want to attract an audience again, and I want to use this blog for the same purposes I did back when I started it. Where that will take me, I have no idea, but I like the process of writing something, staring at it until it gets better, and feeling like I’ve accomplished something once I’m ready to let people read it.
I sincerely appreciate all the feedback from readers who’ve taken the time to write (and complain) about the direction I’ve been taking things here. It’s been noted, and my course has been adjusted.