If you type in two words expressing interest or curiosity about any profession having to do with creativity into your average search engine, you will immediately be confronted with a plethora of articles that tell you how easy it is! And how simple success is! And how you, too, can retire on a hobby!
How Do You Become Successful When You’re Not Already?
Mostly, you will find the equivalent of snake-oil salesmen, but instead of literal oil, they are peddling hope.
Do you know why no one is honest about creativity? I’m not going to tell you right now, because you’re probably not interested in the answer, but I will tell you three stories about creativity that will illustrate my thoughts on the matter.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who liked dancing. She had the body and the training to be a professional, and her personality was magnetic. She went to a performing arts school, changed from dancing to acting (so she could spend more time with her alcoholic boyfriend), and, last I heard a few years ago, was paying for mediocre performance classes somewhere in not-LA California.
Another time, there was a young man who could sing like an angel. He started out studying musical theatre (but the classes were crap), and then changed to an acting major. He graduated at the height of his class as a popular local actor, moved to New York with his wife, and shared a tiny apartment with another friend for a year while he attended auditions. He never landed so much as a tiny anything part, and went back to get a “practical” degree. Last I heard of him, he is living with his wife and two children about as far away from a performance hub as a body can get.
Another young man did a little bit of professional work before college; he did the minimum to graduate from his BFA program, and then went straight into professional work, landing a great role in a touring show, and a few respectable credits Off-Broadway and in film. He is not by any stretch the most successful actor in the world, but he can call himself an actor, professionally.
Which Brings Us To Me
I started out about as low as it is possible to get, socially and professionally. I mean, I’m sorry, but my parents’ ambitions for me were, respectively, glorious suicide and closeted sex work. (No, seriously. My mother has a dream of weeping copiously over my open casket. Yes, she’s crazy. And yes, he’s evil. And no, I’ve never been stupid enough to cooperate. They tried starving me into submission, but it didn’t really work out for them; I’m tough.)
I remember the day that I stopped giving out markers of socioeconomic desperation; I went to the laundromat in the wrong part of town (because it’s the closest place to get quarters, when I need quarters), and it was immediately apparent to me that I no longer fit in.
I Moved Up A Success Level!
The people there were no longer my people; I stood out. I looked too middle-class, or whatever you want to call it when a body is comfortably dressed, has money in the bank, and drives a decent car without thinking about how much the insurance costs.
The Work Is Slow, Painful, And Totally Thankless
God, it’s hard to climb up from the bottom. My great hope is that someday police officers will not hate my guts (my theory is that officers, in the past, could read the pimp-ness from my dad and the addiction of my brother on my face, since both my father and that brother dumped on me a lot). I’m probably there already, but I can’t say for sure, because the officers aren’t attracted to my general malaise of miserable poverty anymore. Because it’s not there anymore.
You Will Suffer A Lot, Like Chris Pratt Has Suffered
As an aside, do you know why Chris Pratt is so popular? I mean, aside from his delightfully generous soul and good nature? People like me (and there are a lot of people like me) can identify with him, because he came from a place like us. He’s been like us, and so the hope he represents is genuine. He escaped the prison of non-selfhood, just as people like me hope to.
What?! You’re So Dramatic, Victor!
It is exceedingly difficult to talk about real creativity, because successful creativity is inextricably connected to economic support. If you don’t have a foundation of societal support (in that you belong to the put-together people), you just don’t get anywhere.
Woolf Agrees With Me, You Know!
And it isn’t that you can’t change success levels; it’s that it involves tearing your soul out and remaking it several times. Which feels like dying.
I must be leveling up this morning, because I feel about as awful as I have ever felt in my life. And, well, that’s really saying something.
What About My Journey, Victor Poole?
Being a generous and loving person myself, I have, in sympathy with the plight of those who, like me, are embroiled in economic and emotional poverty, created a pathway of metaphorical death. Both The Eastern Slave Series and My Name is Caleb; I am Dead were written for the express purpose of making a roadmap for someone like you.
If you feel trapped, and without hope of escape, my leveling-up fiction can help. Caleb was written as a novel; it will make you feel things, but is not uncomfortable to read. Ajalia, on the other hand, will make you feel very angry, because I wrote her in a way that deliberately tears your soul up by the roots, and puts it back in an orderly way. You will get fast results with Ajalia, and slow, but real results with Caleb.