Here is where I'm about to blow your mind by using Iggy Pop as a metaphor for writing.
I'm trying to be a writer. Or I am a writer, or whatever. The difference is semantics and nice people utilize them to make me feel better. I write, whatever that's worth.
I've been trying to find an agent for the past six months. Agents break my heart. They tell me that my project is "interesting". They tell me that I'm not for them.
It's easy for me to want to make sense of all the rejection. I can get caught up in feeling "unmarketable". I look around and see that people I know are writing books about walking away from a divorce in a fabulous pair of Italian leather high heels and they're finding success, god bless them.
I feel like I'm too ugly, too bloody, too dark, too quirky, too sexy, too mad, too wild. I feel like a misfit.
Most people in the world don't "get" me. Some people don't like what I do. Lots of people don't really care about what I write. They think it's sweet that I'm a boisterous little writer with a dream and a little bit of spunk.
And then, there are a few of you that are RIGHT HERE with me. There are a few amazing people who feel a little bit like when I talk about me, I'm talking about you. You're misfits, too. You get it. You get me so hard and so dirty. You get me.
So. As a writer, I'm subject to advice about writing. I hear all the time that I shouldn't "write for the market." That I should be true to myself and my voice.
I have to admit, there are times where I feel like I should try writing a story with a happy ending where the girl and the boy fall in love and run away to California. Sometimes, I feel like I should stop writing dead bodies into everything. I should stop making up characters who are crazy. Maybe I should slip on a pair of high heels and get a nice handbag and write something that isn't so "interesting."
How about Iggy and The Stooges?
Not everybody got Iggy. Lots of people were a little scared of him. Lots of people were disgusted by him. Some people showed up at his shows just to throw beer bottles at him. Most people didn't care about what he was doing, they thought it was silly and weird and pointless.
But some people had thighs that caught on fire at the sight of him prancing around a stage in a pair of thigh high stockings. Some people pictured him while making love to their boyfriends. Some people bit the inside of their painted pink lips when he sang, I am your crazy driver, honey I'm sure to steer you wrong. Some people were David Bowie and they wanted to be him. Some people understood that Ziggy Stardust wouldn't have existed without Iggy Pop. Lots of people knew that Iggy was the Jean Genie. Some people were Ian Curtis and they hung themselves to death while playing The Idiot on repeat on a record player.
Iggy wasn't really a through and through success, though. He was enough to make a few people fan themselves with their hands, to cause them to feel strange feelings, way down deep inside. He was enough to change the world. He was enough to make a tattered little group of misfits pronounce Raw Power as their favorite album of all time, ever.
Some people took one look at him and understood that nothing would be the same, not after seeing this thing of total, rock and roll sex god, beauty.
So, he was a little bit dirty, a little bit crazy, a little bit wild, a little bit embarrassing, a little bit scary. He was a scrappy little god of our idolatry.
But not everybody cared. In fact, most people didn't care.
He wanted to be a big star, and it was, unfortunately, the 1980's. He didn't want to get hit in the face with bottles, anymore. He wanted to fly first class. He wanted to get his dinner for free. He wanted to laugh all the way home from the bank. I wanted to be big and famous like the Twilight lady. Oh wait, we're not talking about me.
So, he started making music for the market. He wasn't stupid. He knew what would sell. He put all the elements of popular music together and came up with this:
Right? That's the kind of thing people loved. Men in tight pants and puffy shirts crying for love while they executed ballet spins in a junk yard.
Except, when he did everything right, when he figured out what people wanted, suddenly NOBODY cared. Not even those girls who used to blush and get uncomfortable in their seats. Not even those girls who used to gasp and cover their mouths when his pants fell down around his ankles. Once he made music that everybody wanted, that would sell, everybody hated him for being a big, ridiculous faker.
And he was, too.
So, if you're a scrappy little sexy writer who scares people and who isn't marketable. If you write with your pants down, if you make people blush and read through their splayed fingers. If you're getting pelted in the head with rejection after rejection, make sure you look people in the eye. Make sure you notice it when somebody says, "You are something marvelous." Make sure you notice it when somebody gets you, because some people DO GET YOU. Maybe not everybody. Maybe not even most people. But everybody can't love you. That will never happen, not to anybody. Not even to Oprah's book club selections.
You don't want to be the Twilight lady. You don't actually aspire to be one of Oprah's Book Club selections. You don't want to Cry For Love.
Keep being you. There are lots of somebody's out there for you. Be brave like a 1970's Iggy with a bashed out front tooth and a strap-on horse tail who makes just a few girls feel faint with hysteria. You know what you are and you're beautiful. You shake a few people up. You make a few people feel a little bit inspired. In the grand scheme of things, you might just be a blip on the face of existence, but we're all that way. Keep your head up. Be a person. Do something important. Be you in a world where you doesn't sell anything. Don't sell anything. Be you. Keep writing what comes up from your guts.
I'm listening at least.