Letter To A Young Fool

Dear J.K,

I had promised to write you a letter earlier to celebrate your endeavors in the writing industry.

But alas I have been facing struggles of my own to stamp my foot on the page and leave an everlasting mark on it. It has been a gruesome few weeks, but I have finally made it out of the tunnel (not without a few scratches, I might add).

So it is with a much clearer conscience that I write to you now to address your work. I have read many of the samples you’ve sent me and have found them quite repulsive at first (most of them even contained profane unorthodox satanic thoughts that I simply couldn’t entertain), but after rereading them I have learned to read between the thickness of the lines and channel your emotion as a writer.

Being a writer myself, it is clear you are suffering through your art. And by that I wish to precise I am not alluding to the normal everyday struggles that one faces; you sir, are embracing life’s senses in their purest form and replicating them in your work. You’ve shut out your society. You suffer from the mundane etiquette and misbehaving that seem to dictate others’ lives. You struggle through lack of inspiration and extended periods of writer’s block. You even suffer from your poor writing style and lack of ingenuity.

The list is long, but I do not wish to go on. What I wish to convey through this writing however, is the sheer grit and resilience you are exhibiting as a writer. You and I both know that life without literature is hell. And while you try to encompass the works of other greats as best as you can (Bukowski, Fante, Rilke to name a few) you fail miserably in doing so and land flat on your back every time. There is beauty in the attempt, but too many failed attempts border on the embarrassing and start sending shock waves in a certain direction. These later become gentle hints which turn to delicate vibes followed by rapturous headlines which implore you to stop. Stop writing. Stop muddying your hands with a craftsman’s work. Were you cut out for this, you’d have seen your name on giant billboards long ago. You would’ve seen posters of yourself advertising your latest book in a series of masterpieces, you would’ve been sitting down nervously at your desk organizing your schedule according to your book tours.

But one of the writer’s best traits is that he is a speaker of truth. And as a writer I am both entitled and obliged to tell you that your work hasn’t generated sufficient buzz to earn you the title of writer. You are an underground amateur trying out for the big leagues. You are a pretender trying to compete with contenders.

Well, you’re way ahead of yourself. You’re standing at the end of the line with no hopes of making it to the front. If there’s one thing your work shows, it’s desire. Desire to get the word out in no matter which way. But sadly this is no longer enough. Attention spans have been greatly reduced and people only want to read things that sparkle. They want the explosive juicy stuff, not the build-up that leads to that. They have no time to waste on a little player making rounds to convince them to invest their time in him.

I am telling you this while thanking you for the samples you’ve sent me. I’ve had a great deal of pleasure in reading them and analyzing them, both in form and content. But I am sending you this letter now to stop you in your tracks. To stop you from venturing deeper into this mysterious and dark cave, because once you’ve hung out there long enough, you’ll confuse it for a safe place and refuse to leave.

So I am asking you, as an efficient craftsman and as a friend, to give up and step down. Leave the arena before the lions eat you whole. You are not cut out for this calling and frankly, it was never your call to answer in the first place.

You should go back to embracing other things past great writers have invested in, like drinking alcohol and hooking up with cheap women. Right now you’re the sad melancholic guitarist desperately trying to play that sad song every teenager will listen to on the bus from school but can only produce a messed-up cover of the original. The skeleton is there but you can’t quite complete the tune. It’s not something that takes time or patience, it’s just not in you. It’s too much weight for your little slim shoulders to carry. It’s asking too much, like asking a turtle to spread a pair of wings and fly or a cat to breathe fire.

Consider my advice. It will save you much trouble in the long run. And don’t feel afraid of coming out of this thing wrecked and torn and beaten and defeated. Better men than you have tried and failed and still found a way in their life. I know this might feel like everything to you now but someday it won’t. You have to make peace with that and start letting go. The rest will work its way out gradually.

I’m sorry for the long letter. It’s just that I had high hopes for you. Reading you at first felt like unearthing a new gem, a post-modern Bukowski perhaps or a middle-Eastern Steinbeck with an Oriental touch. But the complexion of things changes the more you dive into them and the better you understand them, and looking at your work on a deeper level I could tell there wasn’t a clear end to it.

I hope you understand my message with respect and amiability. I hope it’ll make you rethink a premature decision you seem to have been pushed into making. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter as well as your final decision.

Sincerely,

A real writer

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