Sunday, January 27, 2013

Intermission: The Warm-Up

I'm finishing up writing a medium-sized project at home tonight. So before I continue, I'm gonna warm up a bit by writing something completely unrelated.

I was really angry these past few months. Really, really angry. Instead of assuming my aspect as Lord of Destruction, I decided to find a better way. A better arrangement.

In the beginning, it didn't start off like that. I just wanted to whine and moan. Then, things started happening and one lead to another and here I am, standing amidst the rubble of darkness and depression, with a plan, armed with nothing save for my wit, and my will. Just like Lucifer. Yay!

I sometimes get people coming up to me and say, "I believe you are a creative person." They mean it as a compliment of sorts and I always thank them. However, in my understanding, everyone is creative. Anyone can do whatever anyone else has done. Van Gogh painted stuff. You can paint too. Alan Moore writes comics, you can write too. Anyone can do it, but not many has the passion, the energy, the wit or the will to do so.

'Being creative' is nothing more spectacular than being able to breathe. There is really no romance in there, seriously. It CAN be, but more often than not, it isn't.

I am at an awkward phase where I see the past work of people before me, as well as the stuff the younger generations are propping up. I see the mistakes and the triumphs, the success and failures of people who claim they 'do art'.

My greatest worry - which is severely misplaced because I should only worry about myself - is when people 'do art', regardless of the medium, to be loved. I will not condemn any motivation to do anything because that would be unfair, but I have seen so many people who do things, expecting to be loved, and falling into the great pits of despair and stayed there for years.

I did things for recognition when I was in high school. I wrote a lot of short stories. 17 short stories a year, so I could please people. So I could find a function for myself. My audience was mostly students who were happy that someone is doing what I do so they would not have to do it, so I guess it pleased some of them. There was a small group who were extremely egotistical - we were teenagers, so that's our excuse - whose sole reason for existence is to 'take people down a notch' so they just hated everything. Most don't give a damn.

It was around this time, after leaving school, that I realised nothing really matters. Since 'the arts' is subjective, no opinion is truer than the other. So that means every viewpoint is worthless.

I see sometimes people who try to break out from normal conventions and establish their own style, which is commendable. And then they try to force their ideals down other people's throats. They walk around with chips on their shoulders, believing themselves to be the intellectual saviour of the masses. They believe themselves special and 'above' the fold.

I sometimes parody them, going around claiming I am the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century, that I am the Best in the World. It is meant as parody, but insecure fucks believe me when I say so. I have facepalmed myself in the toilet so many times when I see these brainless peacocks react to my prodding and poking.

I see all this and I go, "Meh." I am far more self-absorbed and self-centered to think about other people. I am, after all, the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century.

My great mission was to do what I want and get paid handsomely to do so. I wanted to become a well-paid writer. In Malaysia.

This is unheard of, of course. There are Malaysian painters who make hundreds of thousands of ringgit from one piece. There are singers, musicians, actors, directors, who make tons of money. But never writers. Writing, in itself, doesn't really make serious money.

Even writing films - a lucrative profession in the US - pays you small change. Say you get lucky and someone offers you RM50,000 to write a script. It's a decent price. How long would it take? A year? Two years? How long would it take for them to pay you? Three months? A year? Two years?

50K divided over two years is like, 2K a month. And that's 50K.

Books? A novel pays you around, what? 10% of the actual price? If you sell 2000 copies - which is a decent run - you get RM4,000. How long would it take for you to write a novel?

A lot of people I meet - new people - always have this familiar glint in their eyes. They believe they are special, that they can make it, that they can score the imaginary millions unlike others who have failed to do so. And I must say, yes, everyone is special. Everyone has a story to tell. Many stories, in fact.

And yes, the potential is there. However, having unrealistic expectations or having any expectations whatsoever is a formula for despair.

I'll tell you my motivation - I write for money. I don't expect people to love me. I have no desire or need for that. I am the last child in my family - I have never had any need for attention. My personality ensures I get attention, which can sometimes be cumbersome and annoying.

And then, realising there is little money to be made from writing, I have acquired other skills to take care of my expenses and write for fucks.

Yes. In the end, that is my true motivation - I write for fucks. My apartment is clean. Now, who wants to fuck?