And now for something completely different… Rather than bore you more horrible writings that will be published soon I thought I’d bore you with some personal ideas. Why have I chosen as my personal motto, Stay Positive & Make Good Art? Well read on and find out! Beware… thar be demons ahead!
This will be my new tattoo on July 24th!
Now that I’ve cleared everything off my plate so I can get back to work on my debut novel… so what better way to procrastinate than by posting something for you lovely people (hopefully fans). Honestly, I just needed a little mental break from editing before I get back to hating every word I’ve written… I mean back to work. I realized recently that I’ve made “Stay Positive & Make Good Art,” not just my sign off on these blog posts but also my personal motto, yet I have given no reason why. In order to explain I need to speak of things I don’t like to think about but you won’t understand if I don’t. Thus I’ve procrastinated doing this aside from having no time to do it.
For anyone who does not know I am 46 years old which is really unimportant, age is nothing but a number to me, but is important for this story. I have so many books coming out this year along with my debut novel (I hope!) that you may want to know a little more about me. I won’t bore you with all the gory details or we’d both be here all day and I do have to get back to editing the novel. Suffice it to say, for the first 44-ish years of my life I was a fairly negative person filled with more self-hate than you can shake a stick at. I wasn’t often outwardly negative, no, my negativity was all internal fueling my self-loathing. Everything and everyone sucked and I hated the world almost as much as I hated myself. When someone would tell me to think positive I had to fight the urge to burst out laughing while flipping them the bird. My head screamed, “Don’t you know everything sucks you fucking idiot!” I still can’t stand those bubbly super positive folks, the kind who ooze sugar while smiling at you before your morning cup of coffee, but I no longer instantly hate them while killing them horribly in the confines of my mind. These days when I smile and say good morning I genuinely meant it. It was a long journey to get here but it began with me finally hitting my rock bottom.
Again I’ll spare you all the gory details and just hit the highlights here. There I was in mid-2016, unable to find a job, working hard on my writing but getting nowhere financially which put a stress on me and those around me. For a myriad of reasons I was being forced to return home to New York feeling like a complete and utter failure both personally and professionally. I couldn’t face it. I couldn’t face my family as a loser with a capital fucking L. I decided to call it quits, to check out. Yes, I attempted suicide but do not fret. I can honestly say it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I definitely wouldn’t be here today if things did not happen the way they did and have since.
You see I suffered from depression from about as early as I can remember but really taking hold when I was a teenager. Later I discovered the wonders of anxiety to combine for a really wonderful cocktail in my head that always let me know what a lousy piece of shit I was. The real problem is that I kept it all hidden from the world. Some may have suspected at different times in my life but no one had any idea how bad it really was. Again sparing you the gory details my last suicide attempt was not my first and I’ll leave it at that. It was that day in mid-2016 that it all came out, now everyone knew. Now that’s fucking fear my friends! Yet it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Sure I nearly died and spent a few days in the ICU but then I spent a couple of weeks in a facility where I started getting help. My dirty secret was out and instead of retreating to my old habit of hiding my real feelings while smiling and saying everything was alright I paid attention to the doctors. I tried not to hold anything back letting my darkness spill all over the floor. I found doing so was like taking a nice big dump, sure it might hurt but once it’s out it’s gone forever. Sorry for the image but admit it, you laughed a little.
After going through all of that plus another 18 months or so of therapy I’m all… cured? There’s no cure for depression or anxiety, however, I choose to not let them get a foothold in my brain anymore. I do everything in my power to stay away from negative people though they can’t completely be avoided. It’s been a long road to where I’m at and there are many factors that go into it but meds were definitely not one of them. I took them for about a year to get “over the hump” as they say but the side effects were terrible. Also once I had changed my mental attitude I found I really didn’t need them. I keep an anti-anxiety pill on hand in case I need it but I rarely take it. I have many doctors, nurses and therapists to thank for me getting to this point of happiness in my life but there is one who stands far above any other. She is my lady, my angel and my heart. There will be rough times ahead because that’s life but now I deal with the rough times better than I ever have. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but she puts up with me because her heart is ten times the size of a saint. Her heart brings me home.
So with all that I think you can understand the “Stay Positive” portion of my new life motto. It’s really more of a mantra I need on the bad days which thankfully have been few and far between these days. So what of the “Make Good Art” portion? That one is very easy to explain. About a year ago I think it was slightly before I began editing and rewriting the first real draft of my novel manuscript I watched a documentary about Neil Gaiman. If for some reason you don’t know who he is… shame on you! Neil is one of the greatest, most imaginative writers working today. Neil got his start in the world of comic books creating genre defying works that transcend the words “comic book.” Now that some of his works are making it to the big screen and small screen you may recognize his name. He created Coraline, Lucifer (unfortunately now cancelled) and the awesome American Gods which just began its second season (I’m mad that I can’t see it since I no longer have Starz!). Anyway Neil Gaiman is one creative SOB and seems to be a pretty cool dude I’d love to meet someday.
All of that aside, I stole “Make Good Art” from him. He has used the phrase in a few different speeches and interviews now but the first time he used it was in a college commencement speech. I forget which college because it doesn’t matter. His full quote in that speech was, “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” If you do not find that inspiring then you are not, nor ever will be, an artist. In another speech Neil said it this way, “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make. Good. Art.” He isn’t talking about critical acclaim or money or any of that bullshit. He is saying that so much of life is out of your control but what you can control is making the best possible art you’re capable of making at that point in your life. Write the best story you can, draw the best picture you can, sew the best quilt you can, paint the best painting you can, make the best movie you can or whatever it is that you do to be creative. Whatever that thing is, create the absolute best you have the ability to make at all times. What I do for a living in order to keep a roof over my head doesn’t matter, not really, but art, art lasts forever. And since it lasts forever, make the best art you can possibly make at the moment that you make it.
I like to think I improve with every new story I write because I’ve learned from the last one. Rather than write 26 drafts of a novel because you keep improving, write it once, do your edits and put it the F out there. Creation is the art for the artist but for it to truly be art you have to put it out there for others to form their own opinion and meaning from it. They have to see it. Putting your work, your art, out there for the world is hard. Some are going to love it. Some are going to hate it or even despise it. Who cares? You created something that didn’t exist before you created it and it will essentially last forever. People can like or not like my writing, that’s up to them but my work has been published so it is out there until long after I’m dead and gone. Some may have more money than I do, they always will. Some may drive a fancier car, they always will. Some will have more “stuff” and I say let them have it. Artists have something they don’t and never will… immortality.
So now you know the meaning behind it and maybe a little about what it means to me. I probably went on too long but hey, this is my website and no one forced you here at gun point. I’ve admitted things that are hard for me to talk about and that I rarely talk about. I’ve seen some dark places. I’ve been through some dark times. There will be more in my future. That’s life. Nowadays I try to take it one day at a time and even one minute at a time if I need to. I know no matter what gets thrown at me I’ll get through it. I used to muddle through being miserable but I am not miserable any more. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was but I know it’ll come again. I’m ready now though it seems life has decided to give me a break because things have been going extremely well for quite some time now. Now if I can get some real money rolling in and get this damn novel out there I’ll be an even happier MFer!
And now you know what’s coming so… Stay Positive & MAKE. GOOD. ART.
I don't write for others, I don't write for myself... I write for the glory of Satan!