The purge of the aggressive creative

I’ve always struggled to define myself as a writer. I’m creative, but logical. I’m a dreamer, but my feet are still planted firmly on the ground. I’m not your typical artsy writer who spends his days in a laze contemplating the wonders of the universe and coming up with whimsical tales that highlight a deep seeded emotional turmoil or tranquility that bubbles away beneath the surface of my façade. Nor am I your boy genius. I don’t have a freakish I.Q, and my writing isn’t going to reshape the way man views the world (at least not yet). So, if I’m not the artsy writer or boy genius type, what am I?

Well, recently a co-worker of mine described me as aggressive creative, and the term somehow seemed to fit. I’m a creative perfectionist who labours over every inch of my works until I break down in tears or set the manuscript alight (and yes, both have happened multiple times). I’m confident in my works, to the point where I can become narcissistic, purely because I push myself to breaking point every single time I create. My process is self-destructive and mentally taxing, to the point where I sometimes consider myself to be an emotional masochist, deriving gratification and inspiration from my own damaged psyche.

Which would explain why I often feel the need to purge much from my life. See, I’ve been doing a bit of research just recently into my own fickle idiosyncrasies in the hopes of better understanding why I do what I do, and I’ve come to realise that on some subconscious level I don’t really like myself. Maybe I resent the fact that I chose a career with no clearly defined path; or that I spent my youth striving so hard to be fundamentally different to my peers that I now feel a complete disconnection from them. Whatever it is, I go through these moments in my life where I just want to eradicate the writer from my soul and the dreamer from my heart and move forward as just another ordinary person frittering through life blissfully unaware of his many short comings.

During these times I want to completely start again. It takes every ounce of strength not to throw away my job, my writing, and my relationships and simply wander into the sunset in a quest to be reborn as something other than a tormented writer, emotional loner, and arsehole. I move throughout the world wearing a mask of composure, when inside my mind is tearing itself in two as every single component of my life is called into question and judged against my current spate of self-loathing. The aggressive creative in me sees the failures, missed opportunities and shortcomings that have befallen me and seeks to purge the weakness from my mind and flesh.

The funniest thing about these purges that occur is that people often fail to notice the cracks in the masks that I wear, and I force myself to suffer alone. I suffer alone because long ago I learned something about myself that allows it: and that is that I am an excellent liar. And I lie a lot. There are just a handful of people in this world that actually know me. And by that I mean really know me. They understand my thoughts and feelings and recognise the signs that I’m sinking into a downward spiral while everyone else sees what I lead them to believe. Call it a slate of hand, call it a fear of intimacy, call it whatever you want. I keep people at arm’s length because I don’t want to them to see the instabilities and shortcomings of a man who wishes to be so much more than he actually is.

It’s a rather interesting predicament that I find myself in. I can convince everyone around me that I am ordinary, that I am normal, when the reality is that I’m anything but. The mundane scares me, and the fear of spending my whole life in a state of perpetual torment like this causes my pulse to spike. I want to be different, and I want to be able to accept that. But the crippling loneliness that accompanies the differentiation of myself to my brethren leaves me desperate to be regular. So I try to force myself to conform to what I believe to be normal, simply because it would be easier if I could be like everyone else.

But if that’s the case then why am I writing this? Why am I pouring my heart out to readers across the globe that I have never even met? Well, because I have to. I have to change the person that I am; the aggressive creative who piles so much pressure onto himself knowing that he will eventually crumble. I have to purge him from my soul and allow myself to re-enter the world I’ve spent so long trying to differentiate myself from. I have to form friendships that are more than just a façade, and I have to do it so that I can continue to grow as a writer and as a man. I once wrote that life is sempiternal; that I will forever ride a wave of emotion that rises and falls from elation to bitter depression, but I’m not prepared to accept that anymore.

I’m not prepared to accept that I will forever feel the need to undergo the eradication of the writer and dreamer simply because I wish to feel normal in those moments where I believe I’m failing. Screw that. I shouldn’t have to give up who I am just because I’m different. Instead I must seek to purge myself of the emotional masochist and neurotic mess that dwells within me. They say nothing positive was ever achieved with a negative mindset, so until I can remove those demons plucking at the chords of my heart how can I ever achieve something incredible?

It’s time to ease up on the pressure. Accept myself for what I truly am: a writer, a dreamer, a success and a failure, and embrace everything that I am still yet to be. By doing that I can be both different and normal at the same time. My acceptance of my uniqueness and my ability to accept my failings will see a normality in my life that has been absent for so long. Purge the toxicity from my soul and embrace myself. Only then can I calm my tormented mind.

Two Weeks

“Fuck what you know. Fuck what you believe. I am the architect of my destiny.”
-James “Buddy” Neilsen.

With language like that in the epigraph, I think that it’s fair to say that this post won’t ever be making an appearance on the freshly pressed page. But then, my language is abrasive at the best of times, so I guess I’ll have to live without the vindication of being a pressed writer for a little while yet. Nevertheless, let’s kick this off and get down to why I’ve chosen to feature the lyrics of a post-hardcore band in my epigraph, and what it has to do with a page dedicated to the trials and tribulations of my writing career.

Well, the simple answer as to why I chose Neilsen’s lyrics is this: I like them. And I like hardcore music, so I thought that I would feature them just as I have before with artists like Adrian Fitiplades and Max Bemis. But the more in depth answer, the one that actually makes this whole post worthwhile is that right now those three little phrases resonate with me more than anyone could ever truly understand. In fact, the lyrics of the entire album the epigraph was chosen from resonate with me to such an extent that I spent the better part of two hours today deciding between the lines I chose to use and the following:

When you look in the mirror
Are you proud of what you see?
When you look in the mirror
Are you the person you thought you’d be?

The truth is that I’m not quite the person that I thought I’d be right now. I thought that a few things in my personal life would have panned out a little differently than how they have. I’ve been a little emotionally fragile lately, and thankfully I’ve had something constructive to focus my time on…But on a writing front, I’m more than I ever thought possible. That’s right; with less than two weeks to go until I head to New York, I’m so fucking confident in myself and what I have created that I can’t wait to pitch my heart out. Right now when I look in the mirror, I’m damned proud of what I see. I’m a writer with passion and a goal. And regardless of whether I secure a contract in the USA, I know that I’m taking positive steps in the right direction for my career.

Just as Neilsen growls in the song Canine, I am the architect of my destiny. Every single time I sit down and put pen to page I am constructing the blueprints of not just a tale of fiction, but of my life and how I want it to be. When I submit those blueprints to an editor for revision they are given the opportunity to improve and come one step closer to being completed. And when I pitch my story to agents in a foreign city I’ll have the opportunity to see those blueprints come to life. All I need is for one person to say yes and the foundation of my story and my vision will come to life.

But if I’m feeling so confident, and so enthused, why did I chose lyrics that are so explicit? Well, because that’s just who I am. When I’m confident I feel indestructible. And in true Chris Nicholas fashion I have constructed a novel and a pitch that defies what is considered the norm within the publishing industry. When I start my pitch I don’t want to be perceived as just another aspiring author; I want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. I want to be seen as a man capable of rising above the slush pile with a story to tell and the fire in his stomach to do it. So fuck what you know about publishing. And fuck what you believe is acceptable within the industry. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Two weeks. That’s how long I have to wait until I can pitch myself against the best in the industry and see how I compare. And for all of my bravado I am fully aware that I could walk away from the whole experience with nothing. But even if I do, just by making it this far I have achieved something incredible.

An unconventional mission statement

“All I want is to dethrone God so that I can be crucified.”
-Max Bemis.

With just over three weeks remaining until I head to New York and pitch my heart out to dozens of publishers and agents, I haven’t really had a great deal of time to blog. I’ve been so busy brushing up on my pitch and tweaking my manuscript that this poor page has sat dormant, its daily hit count slowly withering away until all that I have worked so hard to create seems forgotten. I’m not sorry though. The past couple of weeks have been integral to my preparation and I’ve grown so much as a writer in such a short time that it feels refreshing to be able to step back into the world of weblogs once more.

In addition to the hours spent labouring over my manuscript and pitch, I have also devoted a fair amount of time to gaining a better understanding of myself as a writer. I mean, I know that I started doing this to cope with the demons inside my head, but I started to realise that what was once my motivation to create wasn’t necessarily the reason I put pen to page anymore. That’s not to say I don’t still have a few issues; I can assure you that my head is just as fucked up now as it has ever been, I’ve just learned to accept my fractured perception of normality for what it is.

So while I was trying to rediscover who I am as a writer I stopped and started to catalogue what defines me an aspiring author, and I came up with a rather obscure little list.
• I’ve fought depression a few times. Writing helps clear my head.
• I’m arrogant and over opinionated. But I’m OK with that.
• I want to be published. Not because I want to make millions of dollars (although it would be nice). But because I want to reach inside the mind of my reader and alter their perceptions on art and the world at large.
• I tend to write about characters that I aspire to be like. But they are often incredibly flawed narcissists and megalomaniacs.

It’s a bit of a strange list. But nevertheless those four points define me as an author. I’m egotistical, yet my own toughest critic. I’m a narcissist but only because I believe that I can open the reader’s eyes to new concepts and ideas. And just like Max Bemis above, I’ve recently decided that I want to dethrone God so that I can be crucified.

Obviously I’m not talking about this in a literal sense. If anyone shows up at my house with a bucket of nails and a cross I’d be less than impressed. And I’m not even talking about God as the omnipresent being mankind believes to be above us. I’m no Aleister Crowley, and there will be no bathing in blood. But I’m talking about the gods of literature. The big name authors who have transcended the medium and become ingrained into the fabric of our society. I want to be one of them. I want to be better than them. But only because I want to know what it feels like to be crucified for my work. I want feel the elation of success, so that I can also feel the crippling sensation of failure.

It sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it? My mission statement as a writer is to become immensely successful so that I can fail. And I want to do this so that I can peel back the layers of my soul and examine where I went wrong so that I can rebuild myself as a more formidable writer once again. I actually don’t expect anyone to understand this. How could they? I, Chris Nicholas, the narcissistic writer, want to succeed so that I can fail. But that’s not to say I will ever intentionally produce a piece of work of substandard quality in order to taste failure. Rather I want produce something so fantastic that whatever comes next fails in comparison. Only then will I ever be able to truly test myself as a writer as I try to do the impossible and out do myself.

So there it is: my unconventional mission statement. I want to become so good at what I do that I spend my entire life competing with myself; constantly striving to outperform the person that I was yesterday. I want to dethrone god, and I want to be crucified so that I can rise again and continue to grow.

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