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Miserable and Inadequate

Mood: tingly, and not in the good way
Drinking: Diet V. Coke. (i’m not an addict, i swear)

Ran across an old interview this a.m. with poet Justin Chin. (Justin writes amazing things like this: “Cats and dogs see spirits that humans do not. When I walk through my apartment with my cat, we see different things. I see a mess that needs cleaning up, a stove, a scratching post, a dehydrated plant. My cat sees powerless demons lounging around with nothing to do…”)

Anyway, in this interview, Justin answers a question about his reading habits by saying, “I like books that instill jealousy and feelings of insecurity and worthlessness in me and my art… I also love Alice Munro. She makes it looks so effortless. She can write soft, slow, pretty stories with such underlying turbulence. Crafty and subversive ? God, I love her work, but it always makes me feel so miserable and inadequate afterwards.”

I cannot tell you how comforting it was to read that. Comforting in the sense of “Ah, you too? So I am not the only one, then.”

I have often thought that the so-called artists who strut about with puffy banty chests, thinking to themselves, “God, I am so fucking awesome and talented and did I mention AWESOME!” — I’ve often thought that those guys are the ones who actually suck. While the people who actually have a spark of talent are the ones groveling about in dark corners, hog-tied by the growing fear that they actually DO suck, that they are never going to get it right, and yet they pick up a pen and write, anyway, in spite of the fear, because of the fear. Those are the ones I like to read.

And those are the ones that send me whimpering into dark corners, all miserable and inadequate. All my favorite writers do that to me. It’s this delicious coupling of amazement and abasement. The thrill of discovering gorgeous lines of words all strung together just so and perfectly balanced and the simultaneous falling feeling in your gut while all your demons crowd into an impromptu moshpit on your shoulders, pushing and shoving and screaming, “You will never, ever, ever write anything even three-tenths as good as that, you pitiful hack!”

All I know is the day that I really suck will be the day I listen to those demons and put down my pen.

-Lo, who by the way, would like to say that the chick on the commercials is just too fucking creepy. “Sometimes it’s all about the office. Oh! Oh! Oooooooh!”

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