final book notes: village / / crossroads

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Being unheard is the ground floor of giving up, and giving up is the ground floor of doing yourself in. It’s not so much what’s the point? It’s more like what’s the difference?
-Mitch Albom, For One More Day

There’s a place where you are going
You ain’t never been before
No one left to watch your back now
No one standing at your door
That’s what you thought love was for
Baby you’re a lost cause
I’m tired of fighting
Fighting for a lost cause…
-Beck, Lost Cause

My life is a giant load of dog crap. And now I feel like I’ve come to a fork in the load.

This past Friday, June 10th, marked one year since I published my first book. I think it’s a safe bet to say it flopped. It’s not so much it’s gotten bad reviews. It’s just hardly gotten any reviews. I can’t help but to wonder what’s worse: people not liking my book or people not caring about it at all?

I shouldn’t be surprised. I couldn’t even get friends and family to read it for free before I published it. Why should I think strangers would pay for it? I just had this small hope in the back of my mind that maybe life would give me a break and maybe, just maybe, something good could happen to me. As I’ve said before, I never expected to become a millionaire from this book. But I did think I would at least get some recognition and maybe enough support and encouragement that I could continue my writing career, which could eventually lead to a bit of success.

Instead, this book has been one of my biggest disappointments. I guess I just don’t understand what it takes to grab and keep someone’s attention. I’ve blogged for about a decade now and have gained little-to-no audience. And despite how people say I’m a good writer, I must not be because no one is reading, no one is sharing, no one is commenting. I am consistently publishing my pain to cyberspace where it’s thrust beneath pop culture clutter before eventually vanishing.

But it is what it is. I can’t make people care. And thus, I barely care now myself.

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted readers to get something good from the book. And I wanted to show my parents that I could support myself with my art. I hoped the book would some how make up for my crappy college experience. I thought, “What if I could turn this jolting journey into something meaningful?” But I’m seeing now there’s no meaning to be had.

I really had faith in the book and my ability as a writer, or at least an amateur writer. I know I’m not amazing but I thought I had some good ideas and a good style that could translate into something entertaining, educating, and ultimately, valuable. And now that faith I had is gone. And more than the disappointment that my book didn’t do well, I am ultimately disappointed that so many people in my life did not care. I’ve had several people tell me they bought my book and when I followed up with them weeks later, they told me they never actually read it. Or they got started and then never finished. Thanks for the support, you guys.

They say it takes a village to raise a writer. And when you look into the creation of a book, through the author’s telling of their experience to their acknowledgements page, you see that they didn’t just sit down, write a book, and then get it published. They had friends and family and connections. People who gave ideas and feedback. People who helped with plot points and continuity. People who provided support. People who provided encouragement. And I didn’t get much of that. Out of the dozens of people I asked to help me, about two actually did (and you know who you are and thank you).

It’s not just a failure of my art. It’s a failure of me as a person, as someone that someone else cares about.

Which brings me back to the fork in the load. Should I press on despite the lack of support? Should I believe in myself anyway or should I take this as a sign that it just won’t ever happen for me? Maybe I’m just meant to stay where I am, miserable and on the lower end of mediocre.

I failed as an artist. I created a short animated film that no one watched. I failed as a writer. I wrote a book that no one read. And now I have failed as a friend. I’m not worth people’s time, apparently. So, what’s left for me?

Nothing much.

So, I think I’m done.

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