Writers have the worst egos of any people on Earth. We probably think too highly of our own writing, and too poorly of everyone elses writing. I could go on about this for hours, investigating all of the reasons why, which would mostly trace back to the fact we are so passionate. I would conclude with endless evidences of this being the thing that makes us great, but I won’t. This is more an observation.
Last night I watched the movie, Midnight in Paris for the first time. I honestly thought it would be one of those movies I would try to like, but end up being disappointed with. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a wonderful movie, perfectly depicting my idea of how Hemingway, and both F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald would have been in real life. Hemingway was a disgustingly irresistible drunk with his ramblings more true than anyone wanted to credit him for. Zelda was a fiery pistol of thing with an accent to match her charming, yet tragically flawed personality. F. Scott Fitzgerald was hopelessly enamored with, well, everything. They perfectly exemplified the options of personalities writers have to choose from. Writers are so diverse, but in our marrow, there are only a few types.
The part of the movie that rendered me the revelation that we are all egotistical bastards was when the protagonist in the movie, a wannabe great novelist, (whom I greatly related to) asked Hemingway to read his manuscript. Hemingway refused, saying he knew he would hate it. He would either hate it because it was bad, or hate it because it was good, making him envious. Every writer out there should be grinning, shaking their heads at themselves now, knowing you too have been there. Let’s face it, we can’t appreciate our contemporaries, only appreciate our forerunners because they ignited a fire in us early on (but now we’re jealous of them too), and really only fantasize about seeing our own novels knock the others off the shelf. I’m guilty of this. When I see bestsellers that suck, it pisses me off; when I see bestsellers that are great, it pisses me off.
When I was about five, I took a ballet class. At our recital I was on the second row, but wanted to be on the first. Therefore, in front of everyone, ironically at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium here in Asheville, I shoved all the other little girls out of the way by throwing my tiny elbows into them. By God, I made my way to the front! My grandparents have the video to prove it. That little girl I was then is the same woman I am now. I want to throw elbows at my contemporaries and see my book front and center. Isn’t that what we all want? We wouldn’t trade our egos for the World though, would we? It’s part of the package our dreams are bundled in. Oh how we are all the same…all of us fighting for front and center…better sharpen those elbows.