There are few occasions when a rousing game of “If you could be anyone at all, who would you be?” gets “I’d be me” as an outcome.
I play that game a lot, and the answer never ends up being “Oh, I guess I’m pretty happy being me.” Never. I just … don’t like a lot about who I am. I never have and I doubt I ever will, barring major changes from outside. Changes I can recognize.
Oh sure, I can look at myself and see positives, but honestly, whenever I sit and think about who I want to be, the solution is never a simple shift of what I already am to arrive there. It’s a radical departure, in almost every way.
Another name for the Green-Eyed list
I read some online fiction this past weekend. And I read a piece by this guy whom I’ve known from my deviantART page for some time now. He’s recently been made a Gallery Moderator, which basically means he’s supposed to be the hall monitor for the literature gallery. He gives people “Daily Deviation” awards, which publishes their work on the front page of deviantART and gives them a LOT of hits. He also has to settle disputes, spend time in the forums and in chats and basically do a lot of BS work for no pay.
I knew he was talented. I read a couple of his pieces and found myself impressed. Well, this weekend he published a little steampunk piece, and I realized, this guy’s prose is what I want mine to be.
Yet again, I come up short in the “If you could be anyone” game. I can’t even feel satisfied with my best skill, my sharpest talent. Someone is always greater.
Someone’s always better
I could emulate his prose. I could study it and see what makes it so appealing to me. But I’ve never had success with that, and that’s for another post anyway.
The last time I emulated another writer, I was a much younger man trying to be Stephen King. As a writer, I’m told now I can’t emulate anyone. I have to find my own voice. Trouble is, like almost every other aspect of myself, I like other people’s writing voices better than mine.
Like my dad used to always say, “There’s always someone out there badder than you.” True enough I guess.
This is one of the few times I can remember envying someone’s writing voice who wasn’t my favorite author, though. It’s been a long time. Usually I read someone’s work and think, “Not bad, not bad … but King’s better.”
This time, though, I think I’d be really content to be this guy as a writer.
Thinking outside my own shell
Sometimes I wonder if someone out there finds me to be that person. The one they want to be when they grow up. The one they’re striving to emulate. (God, I hope not.) But mostly, I’m too caught up in wondering why I can’t be as good as the people I admire to think about that stuff.
I used to hear the expression “compare and despair”. Now I get it. I still do it – can’t help it, in fact – but I get it. Nothing good can come of this, I suspect.
How about you? Am I alone in this or are you one of those out there playing the “If I could be anyone” game? Who do you wish you could be, or are you content as you are?
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