What You’re Worth
It’s the first profit check that I remember seeing. I know there were others with my first book, but I don’t recall them. They were significant, for sure, but this one stands out the brightest of them all.
A resounding thud on a piece of recycled paper. The profits of the release of my second book couldn’t even fill a tank of gas. Hundreds of hours and dollars later, twenty years in the building, it started as a stalled vehicle. Far and away better composed than my first book, the second was crafted as an alien adventure into the metamorphosis of the wounded chrysalised into artist.
A xenomorphous trip. 36.13 later, there is little fuel in the engine, confidence siphoned by silence and burned carelessly on the road to nowhere.
I couldn’t sell this rickety thing at a secondhand store. Or perhaps one in a foreign land where abstract dreams and infinite escapes aren’t so abhorred, misunderstood or diminished. I supposed my stance puts me on a different shore than most. I suppose I am antagonistic and antithetical to some. I have have burned many bridges along this path.
I am conscious of these things, but remain unphased. Resolute. Re-powered.
We cry for freedom, but for a few stripes, remain homogeneously same. Deviance distrusted. Aliens marched from the walls. Paranoia the pitch in the patriotic bricks.
The nice paradox is that I do what I do regardless of approval. I will achieve peace and success when I’ve appeased the creative voice in me, not via denominational validation. We are not gods. We are not heroes.
We are not as bright as we think we are. We are 500 generations away from primitive degenerates, and arrogantly think we have the right answers at this point in history.
Right and wrong mixed with myth and carbonation concocted into disastrous brews.
You know what I think? Fuck the fame. And the fortune. There is no lasting equilibrium swimming in the drink. What you’re worth as an artist involves a vast river that stretches far beyond this time and generation. The humans that you help find path, relate, guide, criticize, love and hate, influence and abide, push and pull, redirect, reflect, touch or motivate are the tide and time for the artist.
The weak creators create in their own image; the strong design beyond, to an image that does not yet exist, one that never did. The vain God looks in the glass and needs to duplicate himself; the humble creator divines a creature of freedom, and allows for blasphemy, chaos and wrong answers. There is no God here, no celestial accounting system, though the Federal Reserve Bank is as close as we’ve got. There is growing intolerance, a global divisiveness, rooted plainly in things we cannot see, mostly due to the infantile nature of us.
What are you worth? Or how much value do you assign to yourself? Others assign to you? Will your great inheritance be disappearing dollar signs, or a vault of experience and wisdom?
In a robot-minded future, your craft will be what values you, and how unlike the artificial intelligence you are, how deviated from the common you can drift, how magical your menageries.
Ten years ago, a different creator would’ve been derailed by 36.13 in sales from a book release. This evolved artist will not be judged by someone else’s assignment of what I’m worth. In the end, I’m not in this to make friends or fatten my wallet; I’m in this to birth orphans, to shape chaos into existence with screams and scars and raw energy, to set free vibrant embryos of truth and reason. This planet deserves no less from a species that cannot find equilibrium with itself or its home.
With every new and genuine creation, I am redefined.
Rich, by my