One of the worst things about our modern culture is the assumption we can do everything. People are condemned for admitting weakness or unilateral skills in almost every position and task of life. Technology hasn’t really helped with any of these condemnations, in that it has allowed us to tie strings to all sorts of puppets in the modern theaters of communication. Admitting that we can’t juggle a dozen wooden dolls is interpreted as anti-progressive, or even more commonly, lazy. However, knowing what you can’t do ultimately leads you down a path of clarity, since it eliminates Red Herrings. Besides, our actual self falls in the center of a living conundrum — the person we want to be, and the person we actually are within. We fall somewhere between these two definitions, and that’s good. We can’t survive in a vacuum.
We can’t breathe in space.
Right now, the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades in the writing community where you experiment with every genre has become increasingly popular. It has become harder for writers to stand out due to self-publishing and blogging; therefore, you can hedge your bets and try to hit success on multiple fields. I’ve got a wealth of personal experience with this multitasking, and I will tell you it does not work. Even more frightening, it can dilute your natural voice as a writer. Hyper education of writing can do this as well, but that’s a whole different blog entry. In my recent bout with college, I had a large amount of people try and push me into nonfiction writing after they read a few of my essays. I have absolutely no interest in writing nonfiction. I’ve been dishonest with a bunch of people in my past personal life to protect them from inconvenience (this is a stupid move by the way, and it was something I had to conquer personally. Once again that’s material for another blog entry). A lot of the stuff I would write about if it reached a large audience would be debated and fact checked. Also, my morale integrity for the people I would be writing about would be challenged. I wasn’t honest to them at the time, so now I’m bashing them on a grand stage for some short-lived writing reputation? And finally, I just don’t like talking about myself that much in nonfiction writing. It bores me. I feel egocentric. I just don’t like it. I’ve tried to push it forward. I’ve tried to make it work. I could push it and almost have success, but it would be me, not being myself.
I can’t help but think of Robin Williams having just written that line.
Even if I can’t write nonfiction, my fiction is full of morals and messages from my personal life. I can inject them into my dark fantasies, and use the supernatural as a backdrop against these blips and beeps of humanity. For example, in my apocalyptic blog The Greenland Diaries, the story is full of situations from my past personal life, but they’ve been resurrected in this apocalyptic setting with an influx of monsters. The Greenland Diaries also functions as a cautionary tale spun from my own opinion that the modern fascination with the apocalyptic genre is unhealthy, and we need to stem this morbid curiosity. I’ve made the running narrative disturbing, dark, and ghastly to scare people away from the genre. Instead, it attracts more visitors. My belief is nonfiction, and my communication device is fiction.
So, in conclusion with this blog entry – you can’t do everything. Find out what you can’t do. Find out what you disagree with through your own personal experience. People think admitting defeat is a coward’s way, but only if you’ve tried your hardest to make things work. When it comes to writing, sometimes your instinct never goes away. It’s okay to have a style and not to be good at everything. You should put your style into blogs, short stories, and novels. You should expand into different formats. Don’t be afraid to not be something though. We can’t breathe in space.