By COLBY LATOCHA (via Thought Catalog)
I am 21-years-old. If I live to be 80 years old, that means my life is more than a quarter way over. My entire life I have been wanting to pursue my vocation, or what I believed to be so. Being a writer. I just do not believe that there is a point. An industry that was built on the talent of the genius’ before us, currently disregards it in favour of the novelization of writing that will only be viewed as cancer for generations to come. If literature is an art, why do we treat it with such disregard?
The New York Times Bestseller list is littered with inane autobiographical self-help books by actors and comedians who are clinging to the last bit of relevance they can muster as they spew pointless social criticism coupled with their insightful advice from their social pedestals surrounded by their accumulated fortunes yesterday conceived, and poorly written fan fiction, that ostensibly is even plagiarized. At least E.L James has the audacity to describe in her own words, albeit poorly, as Ana’s cunt is ravaged by the ever so mysterious Christian Grey. Cassandra Clare on the other hand is pretty darn good at copying JK. Rowling. Hunter S. Thompson used to write out The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to perfect his writing style, I just don’t think he ever had the audacity to send it to a publisher and collect a paycheck.
This far into this waste of time, you might realize that I’m just another idiot critic using the internet as a soapbox to spew my misery in every direction. I’ve drank all the beer that I had left, and have a decent buzz right now, so I suppose that’s fair. Please bear with me however, because it’s also fair to say that you’re reading the truth. The world of literature has become a joke. Writers have their eyes on possible movie deals, not their prose.
With that being said, being someone who was forced out of high school three years ago, with no post-secondary education, whom also made less than $10,000 last year, I would gladly sell my book to a studio so that they could void it of all meaning and collect ticket sales as fans of the novel pay to go see it only to complain to their friends that the book was better. I would just have the decency to make sure the book was actually worthwhile. I just want to pay my bills through the path of least resistance. I’m not a monster.
But Colby, you’re thinking, Why are you writing this? Well, as of today, the only thing that I will have ever had published was my grandmother’s obituary that I wrote yesterday night. It will appear in the local newspaper a few days from now, and will eventually line the gutters and local bird cages of my hometown.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pursuing music in my life (which was my first love, and is something that I will continue to do, but that is another demon, and perhaps a story for a different day), and have devoted none of it to writing, something that I’ve known I’ve wanted to pursue from the moment that my mother first read me to sleep.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that if I were to submit anything to a literary agent or a publishing company, they would ignore it in favour of shit. The reason why the only thing I will ever have had published is an obituary is because the industry has become diluted. Authors are cutting corners and their bodies of work aren’t an indication of their literary skill or value, but by audiences’ insatiable lust for the front page fuck that has landed the lead role in the upcoming movie adaptation.
I’m not saying that there are no good authors that are currently producing work. I’m only saying that they are not acknowledged by the literary community in the way that they should be. We’re only ever acknowledging terrible garbage, or those who are long dead. I get it. Kerouac did a bunch of drugs, and he wrote down whatever nonsense he could remember. He’s a genius.
My point is that, if I want to be true to what my Grandmother told me in respect to being a successful writer, I have to sacrifice whatever artistic merits I am striving for in order to be considered what I want to be considered at the level that I wish to obtain. If I want to be a household name in the world of literature, I have to ensure that everything except my work speaks for my name. No one cares if I’m killing myself trying to enter the literary ring, they only care if Edward stays with Bella after he cums on her face. I’m here to box, but my competition didn’t show up for the fight. No one even showed up to watch.
Gertrude Stein was wrong. Hemingway and his band of misfits were not the Lost Generation. The voiceless words that will never escape the pages of today’s literary hopefuls are. If you’re not writing a terrible young adult series with the potential at a movie franchise, just fuck off.
I’ve often thought that there wasn’t a point to trying to construe a literary persona. I suppose that I still have time, but who can say for sure. Perhaps I will just accumulate all of my work, and instead of blowing out 21 candles on Saturday, I will blow a hole in my head. Then as my mind is imbued on the walls that surround me and the publishing companies throw stacks of money at my estate to buy the publishing rights to my work, you can wish me a Happy Birthday and tell all of your friends with such heartbreak and sadness, how much you loved me as you colour me a genius, without ever knowing who I truly was. I would like that.