I’ve seen my share of friends and acquaintances achieving differing levels of success and fame. Some well known bands and artists were pulled from the same local music scene I was part of in the early 90’s. A few friends and acquaintances have become successful writers and others successful actors, one of them just won a Tony award for best actor.
Sometimes when I see it, it’s an excitement. I am happy for them and their success but there is also a feeling like fame is narrowing in and ‘my turn’ must be next. Of course there is the jealousy too.
I can blame some things on the art I choose to create, I gravitate toward the fringes; my favorite authors, musicians, and artists, for the most part, struggled in obscurity for much of their careers; so it is only fitting I remain ‘underground.’ But truth be told, it is me and a lack of applying myself; of working and persisting and trying to make something happen which threatens my thoughts. I feel as though I’ve let myself down. I don’t know anyone who became famous or successful through pure luck, or with their first artistic endeavor. It has always been a result of hard work and determination and a drive that won’t let them quit, even when it is the only sane thing to do.
I don’t think I’m lazy, but I know I could apply myself more. I know I have lacked for confidence at times, and in those moments I wouldn’t try because I figured I wouldn’t make it anyway, and counted myself out. I guess there has always been this underlying thought I am really faking it, and if a spotlight big enough and bright enough were to shine on me, people would see through me, and know I really had no idea what I was doing.
I don’t want or expect to be rich and famous, but I would like to call myself successful. I would like to have a body of work completed one day I can be proud of, and I would like to be confident enough in what I’m doing– really feel like I know what I’m doing and also that it is worthy– to be able to take my work to the next level and get it published and read by more than just the unfortunate late night facebookers who stumble upon my words, the circle of friends and family, and the birds who use my pages mostly as insulation for their nests.
©Robert Emmett McWhorter– with many thanks to Randall Andrews for the salvage and edits