In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the corrupting Lord Henry Wotton states that he enjoys the company of second rate artists over good artists. According to him good artists tend to lead boring lives, living through their works, while bad artists, who cannot place their energies into their art, put it into their actions. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering this idea and how it pertains to my life and work.
While I enjoy comfort over adventure I often end up among crowds of people who prioritize differently. It can be liberating for a while, but eventually I find myself unable to keep up, tired out, and doubting my own merit, wondering if I’m just not all that exciting a character (or a character at all). In these moments I find some comfort in Lord Henry Wotton’s theory. I tell myself that I am a trepid observer, the Sal Paradise to Dean Moriarty, the Nick Carraway to Jay Gatsby. After the latest escapade is done I can retreat to my home, to reflect and write about it. Maybe I’m not the charismatic reveler I sometimes wish I was, but I can always write about those who are. It has proven true, in my experience, that the types worth writing about often don’t put out very much work. They own expensive typewriters but seldom use them, allowing them to gather dust in the corner.
However, I don’t write as much as I should. I’m alright with poetry, but don’t produce nearly as many short stories as I ought to, and “the novel” is still a collection of vague ideas circulating the inside of my skull. Often, when I do sit myself down and tell myself to write, I find some way to distract myself. I talk to one of those aforementioned larger than life characters on the phone, then go for a late night walk, gaze up at some celestial bodies and compose some trite lines about them in my head, return home and watch a very inspiring movie, then proceed to fall asleep.
I’ve been getting worried that I’m somewhere in between being a writer and being someone worth writing about. Not quite ecstatically energetic enough to be an inspiration, but not broken down and jaded enough to dedicate my existence to putting that of others onto the page. Hopefully with time I’ll gain more focus, burn off the last of my vitality, and be ready to sit and write something substantial. I feel like I use this blog as a confessional a little too often, that I treat it like some canvas to fling my anxieties at, and I’m sorry if it’s getting annoying. I’ll try and get a little less self deprecating with it next time.