Friday, May 3, 2013

Selling It to Yourself

“You call this so-called work, this crap you regurgitated on these pages writing?  Is that right, do I have that right?  You call this writing, right?  You call this an example of…something, something you take pride in, do I misstate here?”

Sometimes it’s like that.  As if I were being browbeat by my other self, a refuge from a Mamet play.  He’s reflected back to me in the mirror in a Rod Serling sort of way.  He grimaces and snarls at me.  He can barely contain his derisive laughter as he berates me for daring to call what I’ve attempted writing.  He re-scans the pages in his hand and shakes his head woefully.  There is no compassion in his eyes, no hint of a way better in the words he spews at me.

This is the drill instructor intimidation method of motivation.  It’s been personified by the likes of chair throwing, player chocking basketball coaches like Bobby Knight and the recently disgraced and fired Rutgers coach Mike Rice.  Both these…motivators, yelled obscenities at their players and belittled them over many years.

“You’re a fucking fairy. You’re a fucking faggot,” Rice was captured on video yelling at one of his star players.  Once the compilation video of Rice went viral, he was canned.  Knight though was given contact reprimands anger management classes, slaps on the wrists and so on until finally he too got the ax.  The difference being Knight’s teams won games and brought more money into the university while Rice’s record was not so stellar.

Winning overlooks many sins.  Sell, baby, sell.

“Coffee is for closers,” growled the sharpie Mitch and Murray sent over to light a fire under the bedraggled sales crew in Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.

 Yet even when the big psychic stick keeps hitting me upside the head , it’s tempered by the carrot soon to  dangle before me.  Like Senator Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley back in his comedian days, those doggone quiet affirmations begin to bubble in the back of my mind.  They aren’t loud but still mange to cut through the shouting in my head trying to tear me down.

“I deserve good things, I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with.”

Well, okay, maybe my affirmations aren’t that saccharine and maybe sometimes the carrot is money.  That’s a mercenary point of vie and none of us became writers for the money, per se anyway.  Sure, we all want to be bestsellers and have the hoi polloi line up for our paperbacks at the local target.  There’s nothing wrong with that, is it?  Yet plenty of us wind up writing for nothing, other then the joy of say getting blog posts done or flash fiction pieces or what have you.  The idea being this helps keep our name out there, keep our chops up as writers.  Honing your craft is the carrot, the satisfaction of a job completed.

Whether it’s a job well-done, that verdict, dear reader, as always resides in your hands.  


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

The next time I see you, Gary, I might have to throw a chair or an obscenity your way. Anything to help a pal out. I, on the other hand, do not respond to those heavy handed stick motivations. I wither under them like a daisy in the Mohave desert. I'm more of a carrot kind of gal. You know, "finish the book and you can have a spa day" or "get 2 more chapters done and you can go out for brunch."

Gary Phillips said...

I hear you, Sue Ann.

Tony said...

I can't do sticks or carrots. I feel like I I'm swimming in an oily miasma I need to push harder and harder against in order to not drown a quick, meaningless death.

Unless this means that life in the carrot, and death is the stick. In which case yeah, same difference.