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?)