We’ve been playing this game for quite some time now. I go out and live my life, sometimes correctly but often wrong, then I come on here and write about it as if I’m some brilliant, all-knowing narrator of my own story. I have a wry little sense of humor that makes me seem like I’m above all of the world’s nonsense. Like I don’t quite live in the world, I’m just watching and commenting on it.
It’s just the kind of person I am. I like human ridiculousness, and I like to position myself as an observer who is above the fray. Whenever I’m with my friends, I act as the emcee, the announcer who points out the folly in everything. But lately, I’ve realized that all of this is keeping me from living. This folksy detachment I’ve cultivated is keeping me from being a real person or a good artist, and it needs to end. The sentiment invades my ﬁction writing too. I write some pretty funny stuff, but I never quite engage with my characters on a raw, human level. I like to build my own little worlds where stupid people get caught up in their own antics without seeing the bigger picture, and then use them to make myself laugh. I never think about why my characters want their stupid goals so badly, I just laugh at the fact that they do. But as fun as that may be, there’s a clear ceiling that comes with it. You can make some pretty good stuff this way, but something insanely great? Unlikely.
I know that New Year’s is a made-up construct, and that we’re the exact same person on January 1st that we were on December 31st. But for some reason, this one feels different. Maybe it’s the new decade, maybe it’s just the fact that I’m mature enough to address my own ﬂaws. Frankly, who cares? If something helps me improve myself, it doesn’t matter if it’s fake or not. So for whatever reason, all of my ﬂaws have been more apparent than ever this year, and I can’t wait to ﬁx them.
So 2020 is the year I stop being detached. It’s the year that I stop writing, and living, as if the world is a TV show that I’m watching from a distance. If I’m not in the real world, how can my art ever be? And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
Trying to Zoom In