30 March 2013

The Pursuit of Genius

It's been a long time since I've really thought about this but it's been on my mind lately, and you know where things like that end up.

I once thought I might be a troubled genius, brilliant writer and creative thinker. It's quite possible that in the ever thickening fog of my pubescence, this was just a way to cope with the fact that I was really just an ordinary child looking for a way to be 'normal'.

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise that word? What the heck is normal anyway? But that's for another post.

It's weird that people never stoop to such heights of hubris as to proclaim themselves 'genius', and for a long time I've believed that the designation is subjective, anything that can't be applied to you by your own thinking is in my mind essentially irrelevant (who knows you better than you do?), but in my youthful urge to differentiate myself from the increasing 'pack mentality' of my formative years, I (perhaps wrongly) assumed on a subconscious level that my serious nature, and reticence to participate in more 'traditional' teenage past-times was a demonstration of genius.
pic: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk 

I took my writing seriously back then, I was going to be a journalist and an author, and the world would understand that my pseudo 'punk' attire and patently stubborn and-at times- obnoxious angst ridden persona masked a brilliant mind.

What happened to that self-confidence?

When did I stop thinking that I might be a genius? And why should I not suspect myself of latent brilliance? What's so wrong with that? It's amazing isn't it, that as we age we lose the ability to give ourselves superpowers at will?

When i thought I might be brilliant, in a weird way, I was...

Re-reading my writing from back then, I cringe a lot. Not gonna lie. It's not all great, but there are some hidden gems, a line here or a phrase there, even a paragraph or two that are simply inspired. It seethes with the confidence of the young, the intrinsic knowledge that no one could write this particular thing better than me, and should I deign to let you read it, you'd be impressed.

Where did that go?

These days, my writing cowers. It hides underneath a rock made of missing information, half hearted attempts to be clever, and obvious struggles with inspiration and originality.

My confidence is gone. Now I need to get it back.

As a child, writing was fun: it was my 'talent', my single 'natural ability' (or so I believed) and it was mine to command at will. Since reaching adulthood, it has increasingly become my paycheck, my future happiness, my personal fulfillment, and my ambition.

It fills some weighty roles in my life, but at the core, at my core, I know that the only way to make it fun again is to remind myself of what I used to think way back when: I am a writer. There has never been a time in my life when I wasn't, or didn't write.
pic: dlkoontz.com

I am the bane of stationary shops everywhere, the owner of many pens, and the fastest keyboard fingers in my household.

I am the user of vibrant verbs, astounding adjectives, and nefarious nouns. I am a lover of onomatopoeia, a word that I can spell without using spell check thank you very much.

I am subtle with alliteration, verbose with grammar, and excitable when it comes to sentence structure.

I am a writer, and by heaven a writer I shall be.

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