*** Everyone has off-days… even people with nothing in particular to do. This is the case for me today. No cause for alarm – things should be back to foamy, frothy awesome tomorrow. ***
For a guy who likes to go outside rarely, almost never opens his curtains, and would probably be happy living in solitary confinement in prison (so long as there was a decent enough internet connection… and a computer, PS3, HDTV, and BBQ sunflower seeds), I can tell you whether or not it’s cloudy or overcast outside without even looking. I feel overcast days. They suck out my energy and sit on my creativity like a 300-pound chick that’s into smothering porn.
So, like I always do when I’m feeling directionless, I farted around on the internet. This led me to The Oatmeal. I’ve been here before, and while I don’t share his love for cats, he’s pretty entertaining, and wrote a kick-ass article about Tesla, so I can’t complain.
The Oatmeal’s writer/artist (whose name I am too lazy to look up at present) has been going at this thing – well – for years now. I didn’t think it had been that long since I’d stopped by his site, but when I click on a “new stuff whenever I damn well please”-type site like his (or Maddox’s), and there’s a host of things that have been put up since I last visited, well… I’m happy at first. Because I get to read something awesome.
Then, if it’s a day like today, the writer in me turns introspective. And despondent.
I take a long, hard look at myself. I know I’m a talented writer, but success is measured by what you’ve done and the money you’ve made. The Oatmeal guy (hereafter, OG) has two books out – one of which, according to him, has been on the NY Times Bestseller list for 17 weeks. Even if OG lives no better than I do (not a likely scenario) in NYC, he has measurable success. It’s the kind of success where you can draw yourself as the fat writer behind a computer… but are anything but. The kind of success where you can afford upscale health food store prices, instead of $1/slice pizza or Ramen noodles (not necessarily healthy to subsist on). You get my point.
It’s the kind of thing in my life where I look in the mirror and say: “Am I just a… consumer??”
This is the yin and yang of my life…
There is the producer… the creator… the artist… the writer…
This is the yang… the bright, heaven-like side of existence.
Then there is the consumer… the devourer… the user… the taker…
This is the yin… the dark, hell-like side of existence.
When I look and see others accomplishing things while I have nothing yet to my credit (per se), it makes me think of myself as the worst possible thing I can imagine a creative person to be: a consumer. When you’re a consumer, you might create demand, but you never satisfy it. You’re a giant, gaping black hole of desire that swallows everything made by the truly inspiring people of the world.
I’ve never wanted to be on that side of the tracks… on the opposing team.
But today… I feel like I am.