Writing is the path to redefining my life; as the amount of time spent at my desk increases the traditions and patterns that I attached myself to as a child become scrutinized. Peace, love, persistence, and success became foreign and untrustworthy; these words were once wrapped in capitalistic ideals, rugged individualism, and denied the honest experience of my maturation. As a writer, a man, a big brother, I consider my responsibility to extend our collective sense of what life can be; in order to inspire, or extend, someone’s life a writer must be skilled in vulnerability, not pitiful sentimentality, and show the universality in our suffering. As people are losing faith in living fear grows and the nation suffers; redefining is a revolutionary act of rewriting the substance of our lives and living according to the soul.
What does success mean? Praise? Awards? Inspiring people? Money? Mastery? As Susan Sontag explained, “This country has a “United we Stand” or “Winner takes all” ethos” contributing to our view of success being purely monetary; the measure of our success, collectively, has become performative rather than a focus on the artistry. There is a national consensus that the amount of likes on social media or value given by publishers determine the worth of art; this view is leading to trend following, and artists creating work for the public rather than the heart. However, those performative acts bring greater attention, so it is understandable given the massive difficulty of living through our art. There is a small community of artists that consider mastery the highest success. Mastery, I believe, is the complete absorption into our craft and the measurement of success is the growing comprehension, detail, and love for the craft; a complete catharsis found through our work is the foundation for our judgements. Focusing on mastery and releasing our mercantilist bias gives creators time to develop, release their work through fear, and provide faith while, hopefully, preventing artists from quitting prematurely. Wealth comes as a product of mastery.
What is truth? As writers give their crafts over to organizations, movements, and parties truth becomes drenched in bias and manipulation; many people believe truth is based on the individual, containing much variability, open to interpretation, but truth, in my definition, is vulnerability. To express what it means to be human while pulling examples from our interior lives is vulnerability; once I embraced the totality of my existence, through full honesty, suffering became apart of the story and not a crutch to my potential. Vulnerability is the source of truthfulness, this allows us to recognize ourselves in other people; openness is a skill learned from recognizing the daily flux of emotions and thoughts moving through us. By closing our hearts we prevent ourselves from moving into our full potential; becoming people unable to create, love, or be. A deep rooted truthfulness in the path we’ve walked allows the spontaneity required to live move through us and carry us forward. .
Truthful writers are the representatives of persistence, the emblems of knowledge, and strength givers along the journey towards freedom. Writers that have laid down the foundation for an honest exploration of the soul’s potential is a small community; many are confined to the all-knowing organizations, movements, parties, and religions that are attempting to persuade rather than enlighten. We all, I believe, are required to have an individual vision; if comparison continues influencing creation we will produce work that limits the ability of people to live free of the internal restriction. Literature has given me a sense of life, a purpose, a hope in the world; I believe, we are responsive for carrying the torch forward through honesty and mastery.
Read Susan Sontag “At the Same Time” for more information of the writer’s responsibility, The case for Victor Serge, on her love for Dostoyevsky, and on Courage and Resistance.