Sunday, November 8, 2009

No Success Like Failure...

... and failure's no success at all. I think I know what Dylan means, though every time I feel I've got it figured out, it's seems just out of reach.
What's success anyway? Me, I'm kicking back, working though not employed, and having a great time. That's something, right? But in my world, success is always accompanied by a feeling of emptiness, the short-lived high knocked down by the dread "what next" syndrome. Failure, at times can seem ennobling and enjoyable. So has been my last year of writing.

Having a go at a writing career is a bit daunting in a time when content is losing its financial value. Yet, the democratization of media is a wonderful thing, allowing musicians, writers, filmmakers, to do their thing, get it to the public, without someone having to give it the green light. But can the average Joe keep providing content for free? At some point, that's gotta change.

A best-selling author pal of mine constantly reminds me that I am in an unknown country and am doing pretty well in a field entirely new to me. In the last year, I've written two book proposals, one which made some headway with a literary agent, though, I was ultimately dropped. I've started two blogs, this one right here, and Maybe Baby. Maybe Baby has readers all over the world in only 5 months online. With 29 stories written, countless more to come and only 11 posted, Maybe Baby has seriously long legs. Plus, I had a book review published in the L.A. Dodgers official magazine.

Not bad, but not successful in the way I gauge things. Funny, we live in a world where outside approval from editors and record companies means less when, with a tap on the keyboard, you are out for all to see. Still, it'd be nice to have that approval.

I just finished reading Upton Sinclair's The Cup of Fury, an anti-alcohol polemic. Sinclair must've been a carrier of the alcoholic gene, because he had a huge amount of friends and family who were drop dead drunks. It's not a particularly great read, though it has a memorable dust cover that, unknown to ol' Upton, looks suspiciously like a serious serving of flaming shots.
What was most shocking was that Sinclair self-published! Even The Jungle was turned down by publishers until, after he put the muckraking classic out himself, it gained traction and was picked up. Had Sinclair lived today he would have been a blogger, for sure.
With that as inspiration, I'll keep plugging away. Will all the work get me anywhere? Maybe not, if you define "anywhere" in monetary terms, or as establishing some sort of career. Yet, as a great man once said, "There's no success like failure.." You know the rest.

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