Friday, February 4, 2011

O, Ambition....

That's me at MythosCon, with Chanel on my lips and Poe on me hat, reading from Some Unknown Gulf Of Night.  The writing of that book feels, still, like some rare miracle & ecstasy.  I wrote its 37,000 words in a state of self-hypnosis.  The last time I looked it over I thought it was pretty good -- but often, when reading over something, I find myself hugely disappointed; so I am not going to look at ye text again until it comes to me in publish'd form.  No matter my future opinion of it, the memory of its creation will always give me intense pleasure and move my sense of wonder.  I have never been a writer of discipline, & that's why I have convinced myself that I can never be a really professional writer -- one who has what it takes to sit down and write for several hours each day, or one who is determined to write 1,000 words a day, or whatever.  A creature of mood, I write when I wish to, or when I can.  I have not been able to write anything these first four days of February.  I have sat before this keyboard and thought I might -- but nothing inspires me to touch fingers to ye keys. 

However -- something in my psyche has alter'd and transform'd.  I have become a creature of -- ambition.  One of my artistic poses has been to pretend I do not care if my books are "popular" -- "I write because I must, and whatever happens afterward is immaterial, let they who want to read my books do so, it matters not how many they number."  In saying this I am merely aping Lovecraft, of course -- and he cared more than he let on, as do I.  Writers are sometimes great babies.  We weep for love.  We are so easily wounded.  Bad reviews, rejection of work, drives us mad.  We have our goals and dreams.  Our ambitions.  My ambition, early on, was to become an acclaimed writer of modern Cthulhu Mythos fiction.  Later on I became obsess'd with having my fiction praised my S. T. Joshi, the only critic whose opinion means anything to me.  But with the writing of Some Unknown Gulf of Night, I have a new mantra: "I want this book to be wildly successful!"  I have never thought such a thing, and it rather shocks me to think it now -- but there it is.  My idea of "success" has always been rooted in critical success, not commercial success.  This is still true, although I am now hopeful to actually make a bit more money from my writing.  I have worked so diligently to create interesting and worthy additions to the genre of Lovecraftian horror, but to do so in my own weird way, with works that are perversely mine own.  I am that ridiculous creature, a man who has both confidence in his abilities and yet profound doubts concerning their worth.  The confidence comes from my intentions -- I am dead serious in my approach to writing, & I consider my writing my Art.  The doubts come from looking at my work and sighing, "Oy, is this the best you can do?"  I consider my imagination extremely adolescent, and I try to disguise that fact with a magnificent prose style. 

So.  I shall probably have four books published this year.  That is absurd because it means that people who cannot buy more than one of them will have to choose.  If I may influence, I would say, if you can buy but one of my books this year, let it be Some Unknown Gulf of Night from Arcane Wisdom.  It is the book that is completely new, sans reprints of any kind.  It is my perfect realization of my current obsession with the writing of prose-poem/vignette sequences.  It is the book of mine in which I try to be audaciously artistic.  I am dying to discover what my readers think of it.  I hope it pleases.  I want it to be a wild success.

Now, hopefully some day this month I can discover again that driving need to create.  It is the work that saves my sanity and soul.


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful insight into your thoughts about your own writing. Thanks a lot for this!