April 08, 2016

I want to be your perfect night.

A while back, I wrote a piece called "You're Doing It Wrong." I'd read a headline that queried, "Are you failing correctly?" And I thought, WTF? Can you actually fail wrong? I've failed often. Spectacularly even.

But recently I thought this: we're bombarded all the time by people we don't know telling us we don't know what we're doing. Over the years, I've had more than my share of strangers chiming in to tell me I suck.

Here is the success part. I am strange. Yes. That's my message. What I like is strange. My favorite books are rarely anyone else's favorite books. The music I play endlessly is generally not the music of the masses. The way I wear makeup—glittery blue liner in the daytime, dark red lipstick at all hours—is not the way the magazines advise to apply the stuff.

So maybe for me success is reaching out to eight other people. Eight people who like what I write. I am not going to go viral. (But viral has such a negative sound to it.) The truth is, I don't care. What I want is to connect. To create the best fucking work I possibly can and to be able to get that work to my readers.

I started penning this piece before I survived yet another author's spew attacking indie writers. Now, I know the majority of other writers have not experienced the journey with traditional publishers that I have. But for me, self-publishing equals freedom. This writer compared literary fiction to opera and self-published fiction to chart music.

Honestly? My vision is like this...

It's late. You've gone to your favorite dark, hole-in-the-wall club. And you've randomly landed on a night featuring a band you've never heard anything about. The music is insanely good. Intense. The rhythm does something to you. Ricochets inside you. And you're flying. Everything about the night is magic. The bartender winks at you when you snag another round. The neon is glowing. At the end of the evening (or maybe early next morning), it turns out that the band is selling their CDs from the back of their van. You buy one for $8 bucks, the crumpled bills in your back pocket. On the way home, you relive in the night, that new music surrounding you. Every time you play that CD, you think of the way you felt. The club. The front man in his leather slacks and formfitting scarlet t-shirt. The hot female bassist with the asymmetrical pink hair. The androgynous drummer.

Maybe that band never makes it. (Whatever "it" is.) But, damn, man. That was one perfect night in your life.

There. That's it. My goal. My definition of success? I want to be your perfect night.



Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I think that's a fantastic metaphor!

Except...I like opera AND I like popular music (and rock and pop and Celtic and New Age and gothy metal and...) Why does one have to be "better" than the other, you know? Why can't we like different shit at different times? Why can't you like Iron Maiden and I like Loreena McKennitt and we're BOTH right for ourselves?

Eh, doesn't matter. I like your writing, and I know there are more than eight people who do. :-)


Alison Tyler said...

Thank you, Dayle. I agree with you 1000%. And my music tastes are fairly all-over-the-jukebox as well!


Miz Angell said...

I'm completely and totally weird. My music tastes are all over the spectrum. My iPod has 8800 songs on it, everything from The Muppets to Metallica, Broadway to Brahms.

And I'm with Dayle - I don't understand why music has to be one or the other or you're not "cool". I've met wonderful people because of music - Dayle being one of them - and others through indie writing - you being one of those.

I love your writing. And frankly, if we're all kind of the same on this, how weird - really - can we be?

Alison Tyler said...

i love this. 8800 songs! You beat me by about 4x! (I'm bad with devices, though. I think I'm more comfortable with my portable Wildcat record player!)

I love your writing, too, MA. :)
Maybe we should just be weird together...