Journal – Jacking trades up


I am afraid of work. I am afraid of art. I am afraid of failure. I am tired of being hurt by my own inadequacies.
I suck. I have to be fine with this. The only solution is to remain in motion.
Jack of all trades master of none
This is me
But when I dedicate ten years to something
I still cannot master it
I begin to wonder why I came
And why I haven’t left yet

It’s easier to jack trades up
Than it is to master them
A master never actually masters his craft
A master only ever gets good
If you want to lead your field you must dedicate everything
Sacrifice everything
And risk still being outdone by somebody
With easy natural talent
Who is fifteen years old.
Leonardo da Vinci bemoaned his lack of knowledge
On his deathbed he faulted himself
For never having learned it all.
He was a perfectionist
He is the standard for half a millennia
And will be for another millennia more
But even he
Was dissatisfied.
Why do we push ourselves
When there is nothing at the top?
Waiting for us is emptiness
The goal is a hollow point
So what is this drive
This need
This greed
I want to kill it
I want to feed it.
So I fight myself fighting it
And get
On either front.















  • Until my early twenties, I considered my personal worth to be a mathematical equation, a fraction of 1 divided by 6 billion people. That’s a tiny number. You and I were both infused with what you’re describing and soon they trained us to do it for them! Wasn’t that clever? But you’re not responsible for achieving, for ranking, for securing the drug of external approval. All that will throttle you. Ironic, isn’t it? You work and you create because they can’t stop you doing so. Shit, you’re going to make me quote Dar Williams again: “They preach that I should save the world / They pray that I won’t do a better job of it.”

    Liked by 3 people

  • Christ, Sarah! From where I’m sitting, it sure looks like you dug deep, very deep, to draw that one up. I could not have done better myself! Well, hold on! That’s not saying much. That actually insults the poem. In a truly brilliant way, of course. Brilliant because it comes from me. But admittedly, still an insult.

    Truth: I would not be surprised to come across a poem like yours in a Cambridge anthology. It would not look out of place.

    I didn’t know that about Leonardo. It kind of figures, though. For some reason, it’s not too surprising.

    I think it’s hard for creative people like you and even me to give ourselves permission to face flop now and then. We strive so much to do our best. Then we’re cursed to actually do it. To create a masterpiece now and then. Cursed because now we have some bloody high standard we think we should always and ever afterwards be achieving.

    We can’t allow ourselves to think that way. It’s too discouraging. It creates writer’s block.

    Sarah, your poem prompts me to demand that you quit demanding of yourself that you never face flop. I demand it of you! I do! I blame your poem for my demands. Naturally, I blame your poem, and not my arrogant, bossy self.

    Your standards claim to you they are non-negotiable. That’s just a tactic of theirs. An opening tactic. Don’t be fooled by it — it will lead to discouragement. Tell them to go to hell! They will come back to the table just as soon as they’ve cleaned up the shit in their pants. Please negotiate with yourself permission to face flop, my friend. .

    Liked by 3 people

  • Damn. That’s quite a measuring stick you are using. Who built it?

    Those that came before us are only examples of their own personal talents. Your talents have nothing to do with anyone else. Carry on. Standards are subjective.

    Liked by 1 person

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