Sunday, June 04, 2006

Would You Like to Hear My Advice?

I'll be the first to clarify, I'm merely flirting with success. A few email exchanges, a few phone conversations, but no real timeframe set to meet in the flesh. Success and I may not even get to a first date. But it's amazing how many people have advice to offer me...

I'm not talking about advice I've sought out. I've sought out the advice from a lot of friends on various matters. It's the advice I haven't asked for that gets to me...

An old coworker I haven't spoken to since he got laid off two years ago phoned me up this past week. The guy hasn't worked since he got fired, and suddenly he's giving me advice about my writing. In this delicately patronizing manner that made my blood curdle.

I love how it's always in the guise of helping me. You know it's going to be bad when someone prefaces something with, "I'm saying this as a friend..." And then I'm forced to listen to this advice and nod and "uh-huh" just to cater to their egos. You don't listen and you look like a stubborn asshole. You do listen and you just feed the advice-mongering.

"Just remember to have fun -- but brace for disappointment!"

A lot of people want to remind me to have fun while bracing for disappointment. My entire goddamn life has been about bracing for disappointment! And trust me, I've enjoyed my share of disappointment. I'm sick of bracing for it.

I'm not a kid. I didn't just graduate from high school. I don't need to be prepared for all the bitter things that the world may offer me. Don't imagine you need to tell me something that other people are afraid to tell me, because the news is NOBODY'S AFRAID TO TELL ME ANYTHING. On the contrary, some people don't know when to shut the fuck up. An alarming number of people. People who barely know me.

I know, this is part of "it". You put your work out there and you attract a lot of feedback. About the work, about your career, about the way you lead your life. It's human nature to offer feedback, and I've got plenty of it coming my way while I've barely begun. And I've listened, patiently. And I'll continue to listen, patiently. But you can't cater to everyone, and you can't follow everyone's advice. At a certain point, you've got to trust yourself. At a certain point, people have got to trust me.

Hell, what's wrong with having a little fun? After the murder I've been through, I think I deserve it...