“We’re not splitting an atom. We’re not finding a cancerous cell. We’re spending seven minutes, to act like an idiot, to make someone laugh.”
–Professional clown commenting on his audition for Big Apple Circus
Whenever I start taking myself too seriously I return this lovely quote and bring myself back down to size. When Still Life With June was published in 2004 and did well, I started thinking I was somehow important, perhaps better than others, certainly worthy of fulsome praise. I counted on that praise. I was asked to a dinner in my honour where I was to give a reading and when I walked in the door they all stood up and applauded. Sounds nice, I know, and it was. Like taking a huge hit of cocaine in the arm, except it lasted longer. But ultimately such displays are pits of corruption for the kind of guy I was then–successful but insecure, lonely and tired, envious and arrogant. This deadly combination of insecurity and ego has killed more writers than alcohol. I simply didn’t know that a modicum of humility is required to write, and that for me at least, I have never been in control of my own process. When I try to control it I turn out shit, and if I start believing the the hype I start to believe that I am responsible, I am the one, I am the man. Result?
I was given a second chance to get my head on straight. I’m grateful for that, and know how lucky I am. I do a lot of kvetching on this sight about various subjects, but it’s all in fun. Some event listings and the new book information and music and some other stuff. Look around and hang out. Just don’t applaud.