Evaluating and re-evaluating
I’m having one of those days. Somehow it’s already 3:33, and I haven’t done much of anything. I did a bit of this and a bit of that, and started another thing or two. But nothing of any real substance.
I find that most days are like this for me. It doesn’t matter what time I get up, what time I go to bed, what I work on first. I just end the day feeling like there way no point to it.
There are days that are different, but always for different reasons.
Back to today, though. Today I’ve sat here, as the hours go past. I’ve read a few things and it’s made me question what it is that I’m doing.
My writing breaks down into three major categories:
1. Academic. My thesis, conference papers, etc., all of which are concerned with sitcom, television, comedy, or some moderately tangential subject.
2. Journalistic. Reviews, interviews, and news stories of varying hardness.
3. Fluff and fiction. Blog posts, stories, essays, etc. Not overly researched, expository, and with varying levels of emotional investment.
The first two pay the bills, though barely. The third is harder t0 do, and I fear negative judgement of it at all times.
So today’s reading was things that fall into category two. I started wondering why I do that sort of writing. Right now, it isn’t paying the bills. (It can’t, legally. As a foreigner, I have strict rules about what sort of paid work I can take on.) I’ve had ideas about branching out into new areas, but I start to wonder if there are any new areas left.
How many times can an artist be asked the same fucking questions? Is it worth doing interviews with people if they’re going to give processed answers to processed questions? As the interviewer, I’ve noticed that some people (artists I’ve interviewed included) give the same answers over and over again. They figure out their answer to the inevitable questions and there’s no variety to the final published pieces.
If there’s no difference between the interviews, why bother doing them?
I suppose one solution is to ask different questions, but there’s usually no time for that, no call for it. Everyone is there to promote something, so the questions have to cover the basic shit. Who are you? What do you do? How did you start? What do you like? What don’t you like? Blah blah fucking blah. I get bored asking the questions and I know people get bored of answering.
Most people aren’t comfortable with questions outside this line, anyway. I’ve tried doing interviews where I don’t even ask about the thing they’re promoting. But then it’s not worth their time. It’s all about promotion, after all.
I don’t want to be part of a pathetic pack of pseudo-journos pestering the more talented artists and performers for answers to the same questions they’ve just answered for somebody else. I don’t want to cut and paste questions, and I’m pretty sure they don’t want to cut and paste answers.
So what do I do? I enjoy some interviews. I’m looking forward to doing academic interviews, where I can ask questions that the interviewees haven’t been asked a thousand times before.
Maybe that’s where I need to take inspiration. In my academic work, I have to fight to make sure that I’m producing something new and different, and that what I write is a unique contribution to the scholarly discourse. Maybe that’s what I need to do with the journo work, too. If someone else could come up with something just like what I write, it isn’t worth me writing it.
The problem always comes in the publishing, though. There’s not much call for the unique these days. Media sources blur together, and nobody has a niche left. It all gets gobbled up and mashed together and retweeted and shared and pretty soon it’s just a vacuum of the same words in a different order.
Maybe I have to accept that I have to write some stuff and allow nobody to read it. Maybe that’s the sacrifice that needs to be made to keep me from having days like this.