Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I think I’ve pinned down the core of my life’s anxiety. Hooray for that. Unlike medical science, when pinning something down is the first step toward eradicating it, pinning down the core of your life’s anxiety still only means that you’re messed up.
I’m afraid of being an also-ran.
In political terms, the also-ran is the mayoral or gubernatorial or Presidential candidate who loses. Dewey, Dukakis, Gore. They also ran, but Truman, Bush, and Bush Jr. all beat them. I am not ever intending to run for office, but I fear being an also-ran. Because really, who gives a damn anymore about Dewey, Dukakis, or Gore?
I fear being an also-ran as an artist. Not a Dewey or Dukakis, but a Judge Reinhold or Chris Sarandon. People who have done respectable work, but who ultimately end up in the bargain bin of memory. They become trivia questions that three people can answer. They become the subjects of Whatever Happened To’s.
And I worry that I won’t even get that far. There are hundreds upon hundreds of people chasing this notion of artistry, many of them terrible, admittedly, but many of them quite good. And even of the quite good ones, some never ever make it. They work their menial day jobs and never achieve what they long felt they could, despite their best efforts. They were deemed not ready for prime time. They are also-rans.
This is so unfair. All of my reason is telling me that I have no reason to be so bummed by the Neo-Futurist rejection as to doubt myself like this, and I’ve at least consciously agreed with it, but it’s been gnawing at my subconscious nonetheless. Because I need to be prepared for the possibility that I’ll never end up anywhere but where the job takes me.
I can be happy, but will I be forever nagged by the knowledge that I didn’t get the happiness I truly wanted?
Questions for another day, I’d say, except they keep asking themselves right now, slowly driving me mad.
Last night, my girlfriend’s finely-constructed veil of denial cracked a little, and I saw the fear in her. Our government tells us more attacks are on the way (and indeed, they are already in progress), and while I’m doing my best to walk the tightrope between “leading normal life” and “be careful, be careful, be careful,” there’s enough evidence at large for me to at least germinate a small seed of mindless panic.
One of the Internet hoaxes, about the woman with the Afghan boyfriend who warned her against taking planes on the 11th, also mentioned that this imaginary girlfriend should avoid malls on October 31st. It came and went, and no malls were attacked. But my girlfriend works in a large shopping center, and I became stricken yesterday with fifteen minutes of the delusion that my girlfriend was on her knees with an automatic weapon pointed at her head.
I’m thinking about it now. And I need to stop.