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Writing What You Don't Know

"Any story, no matter how wild and seemingly removed from any writer's life, is autobiographical, since it comes from the writer's observations and attitudes about the world.  A book is an MRI of the writer's brain, revealing all its strengths and weaknesses."

-Richard Kadrey


I have said before that Antiartists is not about me.  This is true, in that the events depicted in the book never happened to me.  I am not an artist, I have never been to rehab, I have never been expelled from school, I have never worked at a gas station, I have never engaged in cutting, or vandalism, I have never liked prescription drugs as a form of recreation.  So it is clearly not about me, right?

Except friends that have read the book have said that they hear my voice in it, can tell that I wrote it, can see my ideals reflected there.  Honestly, I don't know if this book is about me or not. 

I did realize, somewhat too late, that all of the male characters represent me or a part of me in some way:  The Father, The Addict, The Outsider, The Zealot, The Simpleton, The Sage, The Lost Son, The Artist, The Failure, The Orphan, The Destroyer.

So the book is true, in a way, a completely non-factual truth.

I sit here at my desk wondering if all I have done is written a mirror so I can see myself from the outside.  Maybe this book isn't for other people at all.

The cliche is to write what you know, but what ended up happening for me is I wrote, and learned things I didn't know, exposed gaping holes in my understanding of events and choices in my own life.

I don't know anything, so I write.

There is a certain measure of catharsis that comes with the act.  It becomes a way to express things without having to take responsibility for them.  You can always say, that's not me, don't you know what the word fiction means?  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  You can explore everything you are afraid of, everything that you hate about yourself, everything that you fear to be true.  You get to control everything and make the world make sense.  You can make yourself a villain and a hero, and you get to decide who wins.

The book is not about me, but really it is.

I don't know why I do this, and, God's honest truth, today I am struggling to find a reason to keep on going with it.

I am sitting here thinking about myself, and my generation of friends growing up, and wondering if we, any of us, had a real shot at being anything other that what we were born to be, what we were made to be.  Did any of us have a goddamn chance at all?

And again I find myself with my head thrown back, my jaw clenched, my eyes blasted wide open reminding myself to breathe deeply and slowly, reminding myself to hide behind my plastic smile and clever banter so no one will see me feeling anything.

I don't know anything.

Still Writing,

RP



  

 


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I, Failure.

Listen carefully, because this is important.

You are going to fail.

There will come a time when you will think it was all for nothing, all of your time and effort, you will think it was a waste.

You will look at all you have accomplished, all that you have done, and you will not feel pride at the things you have managed to do in the face of resistance and adversity, but a numb despair that, after everything, this is all you have to show for it, these shabby relics, these nothings.

You may consider quitting.

Maybe you will quit, you will tell yourself that it isn't worth it, that arriving at the destination is not worth the hardships of the journey. You will try to walk away.

You are going to fail, and if you fail, you are then a failure.

You will be a failure.

Maybe you have had nothing but success up to this point, maybe you begin to believe that the usual hardships have just passed you by, maybe you will begin to think that you are just lucky, or that all the warnings have been …