So, I’m on my couch Sunday night going over some work from my job as the VMA’s play on in the background – just a little white noise to break up the quiet. I gave up on award shows years ago when I went to the Image Awards and they kept me hostage for six hours as they taped and retaped segment after segment.
So, I’m tapping on my computer when I hear the nominees for Best Female Video – Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Pink. I pretty much figure this one’s in the bag because Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” video has become so instantly iconic – from the YouTube send up with that sinewy gay guy who breaks it down almost better than even Beyoncé, to the overweight sistahs who do their version, to Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg wearing leotards and the biggest pumps I’ve ever seen for a skit on SNL. But then I hear them call Taylor Swift’s name and I think, “Really? Okay…” and I go back to doing my work. I hear her sweet little excited voice as she gives her thanks, talks about her dreams, her…wait, that doesn’t sound like a 19-year old female voice. What the hell? Dear God, it’s Kanye!
Later that night, I start having Kanye thoughts. (I know, weird, right!) Here’s the thing, he thinks there is no one more amazing than him – and no opinion greater. While I find him borderline nuts, there’s a part of me that’s a little envious of the sheer weight of his BALLS! I’m sure he must have doubts sometimes…maybe…maybe not… but if he does, the man does not allow it to hold him back. He’s not a person you’d ever find working in an office or landscaping because he feels he has something to say and he has to be in a medium that will allow him to not just say it, but to shout it. But isn’t that why we’re artists. We feel we have something to say. So, why, sometimes when we say it, it’s a whisper and not a roar?
Emile Zola has a quote “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I am an artist, I came to live out loud.” So, why is it that sometimes the volume on our art is turned way down or muted? I know we say, “life gets in the way,” “things come up,” but too often the plain and simple truth is that it is just DOUBT. Lord knows I’ve had a lot of it in my life and mine has changed over time. Used to be I had doubt about my talent. “Maybe they won’t like it,” I’d think, then I would go over my piece, constantly editing and changing. In the end, it would look nothing like what I had initially intended and I’d just scrap it thinking it was no good and start on something new. Eventually, I forced myself to the finish line, but then another set of doubts crept in. “People know I’ve been working on this forever and they expect it to be great. What if it’s not?” (See my previous “Ugly Baby” posting.) But success, no matter how small, helped me with that. After publishing a novel – having people actually say, “Yeah, I think this begs for the world to see,” after selling a short story and several articles, I started believing in myself – writing wise.
I’m so in my comfort zone when I’m writing and creating a character, a world. So I’ve removed the doubt from my writing, but it has attached itself to my world after I’ve completed my project – when the business aspect of it all really kicks in. I have to find that agent, a new publisher, sell the book, go through rejections again. I have to go into major network mode, and that’s not really my thing. The fiction book market has changed – they’re not buying as many titles and I hear that little doubt monster whispering: “Your book is good, but is it really good enough to compete with the one million other books one million far more aggressive writers writers are trying to sell?” This is exactly when I need to channel my inner Kanye. I need to roll up to those agents and say, “Hold Up! I got nothing against that book you just bought, but my novel is iconic - the next “Crime and Punishment,” “War and Peace,” and “Wuthering Heights,” all rolled into one. You need to open your eyes, come correct and do what’s right. BUY CAROLITA’S SH*T! You heard!!!!!