The part of this blog that I dislike is that is all too often becomes a sounding board for my moods.  More often than not, they aren’t pretty things with bright colors and bunting.  And while they are not drab, they aren’t full of giggles and smiles.  But then again, when I am having a good day, its rarely filled with giggles.  My humor is too dry for that.  

But today is one of those days, so turn around O’ Reader lest ye face the terrible nonsense that fills my head.

Lately, I’ve been fighting one particular phrase in my life: Why Bother?

If you couldn’t guess that based upon the title of this blog post, then I think we might want to re-examine your skills of deduction.

But yes, why bother has been on my mind as of late.  It pervades my mindset about work, about family, about my writing.  It is a constant within all aspects of my life.  Which, if you couldn’t guess, sucks more than a little.  ‘Why bother?’ is a huge question and, worse yet, can only be solved from within.  I cannot find that answer from anyone other than myself.  Perhaps that’s the worst part—the lack of an answer.

Take my writing for instance.  Why bother writing?  Everything I’m writing down seems to come out horrible and lacking anything that might remotely be compelling.  And even if I am able to string along a series of sentences that carry the less than usual amount of manure, what then?  Should this be published?  Should I even try?  Who would want to read anything that I have to say?  Isn’t that a bit (or more) fatuous?  Am I really so full of myself and what I have to say that I not only want, but all but expect people to read those jumbles of words upon words?

I hope that you notice the irony here of me saying on a blog of all things.

Anyways, these questions and more bounce around in my head.  And of course, the answer is obvious.  If I find no worth in any of these things, then why would anyone else?  Or to rephrase it, they are important only if and when I deem them to be.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am unsurprised by that answer.  We shouldn’t be.

So no matter how much the little baby in me screams and yells and stamps its feet as if being denied that toy which is the sole way to sustain its life, I must put on my big boy pants and go back out into the world.  No matter how much my wife loves me, or my mother, or anyone in my life, they won’t find value in something that I don’t find value in myself.  And if no one who cares about my well-being does, why should you, Dear Reader?

If I haven’t turned you off of this post yet.

Really, I’m not asking for a pity party.  I know what I have to do and whose shoulders it lays upon.  It’s a heavy weight.  And it should be, otherwise what value would it hold for us?  We place more value on those things that we have to struggle to earn rather than those things given to us.

I remember a portion of text from Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.  Don’t ask me to give everything to you word for word, but the gist of it follows:

The protagonist of the story is talking to his teacher for History & Moral Philosophy.  The previous weekend, he earned third place at his track meet, but in order to prove a point the teacher gives him a first place ribbon.  The protagonist rejects it.  Why?  As the teacher makes the point, he didn’t earn it. But he did earn third and can take a modest pride in that.

Heinlein writes it so much better than I do, but the point still stands.  We take pride in what we’ve earned and accomplished, not what has been given to us.  It’s justifiable.  And there is no reason we shouldn’t.

That leads us back to the question: Why Bother?

We bother because it matters to you, to me.  We try and strive because not to is unthinkable.  Just as not writing is for me.  Now, while I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen in the future or if these stories I am writing will amount to anything, it doesn’t matter in the long run.  Because it makes more of a difference that I tried and failed, than never try at all.

 

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4 thoughts on “Why Bother?

  1. You are striking a chord here. A painful chord, for I have been so full of the “Why Bother” blues for some time now. I have written quite a few stories, in my view, and get hardly any views on my site, and even fewer comments. I post on Facebook, comment on posts by others. I don’t hound people endlessly to read my stuff, and since I don’t have a completed book, let alone anything published in any kind of magazine, I don’t have anything to sell or give away for free.

    I have put a small effort into the beginnings of a personal anthology of short stories, most of which I wrote for Rachael Ritchies’ #BlogBattles, but even if I get that completed and have the gonads to put on Amazon, I wouldn’t feel right charging for them, because they are mostly available for free on my website.

    Then, there’s the home life. I won’t go into that.

    So, yeah. The “Why Bother Blues.”

    yeah…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and I both have similar problems it sounds. I know exactly what you mean by not having any published works. My first novel has yet to come out and, more and more, I’m wondering if I even should. It’s not a happy time.

      But what we have to remember—and it’s incredibly hard—is that these things have just as much value as we put on them. No one will put value on anything that we don’t find important ourselves. I know your frustration. But we can overcome it.

      Are those stories important to you? Yes.

      No buts, if, or anything else. They are. Simple. You wouldn’t have written them if they weren’t. So don’t discount it. Remember, it’s easy to delete or edit a post.
      Here’s some food for thought. Have you ever heard of an author by the name of John Scalzi? Well known and successful sci-fi author. His first novel—the one he’s most known for to this very day—started as posts on his blog. Same thing happened for Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight novels. No reason that can’t happen for you. The number one thing I’ve heard from established authors about the business of writing is to NOT GIVE UP. Breaking in doesn’t happen overnight. It takes weeks, months, years to get anywhere. We just have to have faith that what we do is worth the time and effort.
      You can do it. I have faith in you. Keep your chin up and keep plugging away. You’ll be great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Even for Stephen King, it took about ten years to get recognition, and look where he is today.

        I will say, had I known all this back when I tried writing my first story when I was 17, and had I the encouragement from others, I would have kept going then. I never knew so many people could like what I write, and I have gotten some wonderful comments on various writings.
        Of course, at the time, I had more interest in where I’d get my next beer or joint than penning anything. I sure wish one of my teachers in school had recognized what I could be capable of to set me on a better path. Not that I would have listened to them, but I might have.

        Thanks for your words of encouragement! It really does mean a lot to have a “brother in the same state of mind,” if you know what I mean.

        Liked by 1 person

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