Today I posted a Facebook status update that said, "I feel like saying something inspirational. I'm the best writer of all time. There we go, I'm feeling inspired already." I was nervous before I hit "post" because, even though it's clearly a joke, people tend to get really defensive and oversensitive whenever people praise themselves. So far the joke was met with, well, not really anything at all. A couple funny comments, a couple likes. But it really got me thinking.
Why do we hate people who love themselves or their work? I listen to mostly hip-hop, where bragadoccio is essential. Some of my favorite writers are super-high on themselves. James Ellroy routinely refers to himself as awesome. Bolano was totally up his own ass. But why does this bug folks?
If I say, "James Ellroy is the best writer of all time", you might very well disagree with me, but you would realize as it a subjective statement and certainly you wouldn't get your feathers ruffled. Now, if I said, "I am the best"...
In a sense I understand the "hater" label, because it is just hating. It's irritation at someone else's self-confidence. How can you dislike the fact that someone truly loves what they've done? Or that they'd prefer it to something else? If they've stayed true to themselves, then their art is the essence of them, ergo of course they think it's the best.
So, go ahead. Look in the mirror, and say it. "I'm the best writer of all time." I won't hate you for it. But I do disagree.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
A little writing on writing: downside of beasting through and marathon finishing LDDRE is the increase in smoking. I had this conversation with Cody Goodfellow: you stop, smoke, and when you come back the scene is there. Also I realized the strangeness increases with how distanced I am from a character. In BTTWL, all the characters deal with weird shit, because I have no idea how Russians think. In this book there's a kid, a woman and a deeply evil man, and all of them are written in a magical realist way, because they are people I don't understand, or want to understand. Third, I added a subplot about two brothers who find a body in a river about three weeks ago. Today, after reading a recommendation online, I checked out 'Suttree', a McCarthy novel I have overlooked. It begins with a man fishing. He sees a dead man being pulled from the river. It is written more beautifully than I ever could. The Universe both checking my ego and giving me an atta boy, I think.