Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Being a writer is like being Spider-Man

This is what I told a friend earlier today: Being a writer is like being Spider-Man. She responded by asking if I meant with great power comes great responsibility, which is appropriate but not really my line of thinking. Nor was I making a clever link between costumes and pen names. (Y'know, like superhero costumes, most pen names are funny looking.)

Peter Parker has one of the crappiest lives in all of comicdom. He gets the stuffing beat out of him on a daily basis defending a city that acts like most of the time that they'd rather he pack it up and move to Jersey. He can't ever seem to get a break—and when he does, you know it's because something is probably going to go wrong as soon as you turn the page.

Despite this, he's still out there webslinging like maybe today's the day when things are going to go his way for a change. Being Spider-Man makes his life hell, but he does it. (I don't believe it's completely motivated by his guilt over what happened to Uncle Ben.) Something I always respected about Pete is that he walked away. He threw that suit in a trashcan and tried to have a normal life. He even succeeded for a little while.

There's only so much crap that any human being—super powers or not—can take. Burning out and walking away? It's what makes Peter Parker sympathetic in a way that Bruce Wayne will never be.

Last year, I had had enough being bounced off brick walls. I threw that Serious-Writer suit in the trash can and was all "I am seeking publishing no more..." Sure, my eyes strayed to where I'd stashed the spare mask when I heard of other author's deals. It's hard to break the habit. I even put the boots on for a couple weeks in November. Y'know, just seeing if they still fit.

As life fell apart around me, I realized that I was hurting myself more than any rejection letter ever could. I was denying what gave me purpose. I'm not saying there aren't other things that provide a sense of fulfillment, but there's a hunger that only writing truly sates.

Once you've been bitten by a radioactive writing bug, there's only one choice that will ever make your happiest. You put the suit back on and go out there. Regardless of the fear. Regardless of the doubts. Regardless of the sacrifices. Maybe it's a thankless job. Maybe it's a crap life. But someone has to save the world—even if it's just the one created in a WORD file.


Karen Mahoney said...

I totally <3 this. Perfect.

I'm so glad you kept that spare mask tucked away. ;)

Chandra Rooney said...

You totally are, because it means you get more Shiro. ;)

KT said...

Good to hear you're sewing a shiny new suit, lovely. :)

Jamie Ford said...

Aptly put. And besides, Bruce Wayne was always a d-bag in my opinion.

Chandra Rooney said...

Bruce Wayne took himself way too seriously.

A.M. Dellamonica said...

I've been using this line for years. (See? See? http://poetryradio.blogspot.com/2009/06/upcoming-july-8-2009-alyx-dellamonica.html)

I'm glad to see someone agrees with me!

Chandra Rooney said...

I conclude that this is a universal feeling or we are all Spidey geeks.

Alex's comment about Spider-Man: http://poetryradio.blogspot.com/2009/06/upcoming-july-8-2009-alyx-dellamonica.html