>Done With Hipster Envy

randomlychad  —  February 24, 2011 — 7 Comments

>Donald Millerphoto © 2006 Jaci Gresham | more info (via: Wylio)

I’ve finally accepted it: I’ll never be cool. Heck, I’ve never been cool. Sure, I’ve been “cool-adjacent,” put I was too awkward growing up to ever be cool. That, and I was painfully shy to boot.

And now? Now I’m 41, and any chance–if ever there were one–I had of aspiring to “hipsterdom” has flown. Or in the words of Syndrome (from Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles), “that ship has sailed.” And I’m ok with it. There is no going back.

Youth has fled me, and I see a sleep-deprived middle-aged man looking back at me from the mirror. One who wonders why he didn’t follow his dreams way back when? And is it too late now? One who wonders why he so often avoided confrontation–when instead he could have entered the fray? Why? Why so many wasted opportunities, so many wasted years?

In all this, so cliché: a midlife crisis. How wonderfully average and oh-so-unoriginal. And honestly, my crisis is rather blasé: I buy books I don’t need. Recently, I even bought a T.V.! (Anything else, and my wife would kill me!) Wow! I’m a whitebread wonder!

So last Fall, I took my first few faltering steps along the path to my “dream” (writing), and was called a douche. For trying too hard. You know what? It stung–but it was true. I was trying too hard to be noticed. No sense in reheating old hash, but I’ll say this: I think I was compensating for never having a dad who did notice me (or only noticed negatively). Whatever. I’m through being the victim.

I’m me: that’s all I can be. And part of that is this blog. It’s a labor of love. My own little work of art. But blogs, of course, are a dime a dozen: virtually everyone has one, but unless you’re cool like Donald Miller, or Jon Acuff, virtually no one will read your work. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous, but that of course is a sin: I’m not either of those men, and never will be. Like I said: I’ll never be cool.

But I am proud of my work, and work darn hard at it, too! Which is why Mr. Miller’s post today was initially enthralling, but ultimately galling, to me. He said (quoting Steve Taylor):

1. A creator loves what they do.

2. A creator knows how to do what they do.

3. A creator does what they do.

I thought: so simple, so true, and just what I do. That was the enthralling part. What was galling was the following:

“A creator can hold in their hands what they’ve made. Little blog entries and practice poems won’t do. A creator makes things.”

I respectfully, and adamantly, disagree: every post–every poem–is one of my children. In addition to shepherding a marriage, raising children, and working a full-time job, I blog here. I write–come hell or high water–five days per week.

So, just as respectfully, I’d like to say: screw you, Donald Miller. Who died and made you an arbiter of what is, and is not, art? Could you walk a mile in my shoes? I have a voice, a unique perspective, and just as much right to my say as you have to yours. (Know that I still love your work–I just strongly disagree with you on this issue).

That said: I’m done with my hipster envy. I don’t want to be Donald Miller–or Jon Acuff for that matter. I just want to be uncool little old me. And keep plugging away here on my little corner of the Internet. My time will come.

And so will yours.

(Was that a little ranty, a little rambling, today? Maybe I shouldn’t write while under the influence of Rozerem? Do you agree, or disagree? What’s your definition of art?)




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Upon reflection, it seems that I've got too much of my identity caught up in what I do, rather than in Who's I am. My bad.
    My recent post Done With Hipster Envy

  • I'm gonna' agree with you on your disagreement with Donald Miller. ANYTHING we create can be art. I don't know that everything that I've written IS art, but certainly it has the potential to be. I know that there are “little blog posts” that have had a profound impact on my life, greater than any number of larger works I've read. Moments of improvisational music that have touched me more than entire scores of a symphony. These aren't necessarily tangible items, but honey, they are art. And those who have created them are artists.

    Oops — was wrong there re: comments. Glad that has changed!
    My recent post

    • Thanks, Alise! It was getting all lonely like here in my virtual “speedos.” ;-)Props to you for your eloquent heartfelt comment. You said in a few words what I barely touched on in a whole post. Incidentally, I think he disabled comments because it was taking too long to moderate them. Not sure why he felt he needed to do that, but props to him for reading them back when they were allowed. Thought: maybe this is what he wants--to push the discussion away from his blog, and make it more “viral?”

  • mpt

    Chad, I second your disagreement with Miller. He's been a bit of a grumpy blogger lately. You're a creator because you create. The means to which it's presented is secondary. Can a songwriter hold a song? No, he holds a CD. Or an iPod. (He didn't create either!) But he did write the song and it gets delivered on a CD or iPod… Mr. Miller is wrong.

    Keep writing. Keep dreaming. And be unashamedly you.

    • Thanks, Matthew! Appreciate the clarity you bring to the issue. According to my wife, I was a little loopy when I wrote the post. 😉

  • Michelle

    Well, I've NEVER read Donald Miller (is that bad?), but do read Jon Acuff (very cool) and you (also cool -- though you may not agree).

    Everyone has a voice, and if we all sounded alike then there would be no point to reading anyone else.

    “Little blog entries and practice poems won’t do.” -- Sorry, but little blog entries and practice poems help you become better. They help you figure out your voice and what you are wanting to achieve, to tell your story. And no-one can tell your story better than you. They may be more eloquent, but that doesn't make it more real or true.

    I was told once “there are no mistakes, just changes in design.” I hold that to be true whether it's drawing, writing or anything else new.

    • Michelle,Thanks for saying that, but I don't feel “cool.” 😉 And thank-you for your encouraging words--always a blessing. Thanks for your consistent readership. Do check out Donald Miller--he's on the web at http://donmilleris.com