2/18/21: The Words — How to Succeed as a Bad Writer By Really, Really Trying (2012) #poetry

2/18/21: The Words — How to Succeed as a Bad Writer By Really, Really Trying (2012) #poetry

All you need to write is good enough health, good enough money, time, friends and people who love you

When I taught improvisational acting 1000 years ago I used to say, “Your audience will find you”

I had something different inside of me

Jeremy Irons plays a true artist of a writer in this airport novel of a multiplex romance marketed to women who find poetic types to be romantic

Bradley Cooper plays a sensitive young plagiarist

who is trapped by his desire to be a great writer and to be a huge commercial success

The movie seems to think that those two things co-exist

That what is great will always sell


But one cheapens the other

Just like the occasional good acting and dialogue in this picture is pulled down by all of the shit

Marketing overwhelms art

Marketing is stronger than art

The way death overwhelms life

Life always ends

Death just keeps rolling along

Art is pure — it’s life

Business is dishonest — it’s corrupt intention

The plagiarist feels guilty

The artist struggles …

The life is the thing

The art is just the report

Of course the artist is obscure

even when everyone knows his name

The artist is obscure to himself

He writes what he doesn’t know

The mature writer is past so much bullshit

no longer a problem to himself

Come on,

To be famous

To be published

To be envied

To get rich

Mainly, mostly

to be recognized

to be seen as a successful person

in the eyes of others

To be what you desire to be

a great this or a great that

like him or like her …

Immortal in the public imagination

(until you are not, but hey it’s the sensation isn’t it … acclaim is a temporary thing … then its on to the next thing … people want to cheer and different teams play in the Super Bowl every year … old achievements go in history books and museums … in some instances fame becomes infamy … it’s all just perception, clear or cloudy …. Saviors become demons … heroes are exposed as frauds or even worse, merely human … mixed bags … we want myths … we want to believe in black and white … we want value to be an easy thing to grab onto … we want someone who went to the Promised Land ahead of us to show us the way, to show us its possible … we want to be saved … we want to be disappointed … we want to feel superior to that and who we have honored … we want the excitement of finding new people and things to admire, we call that progress … we want escape … we want an idyllic perfection … we want something more than food. clothing and shelter … we want the money, fame etc. but we want to tell ourselves that somehow it is more important and deeper than all that … we like to bullshit ourselves … we want soulfulness made material and in so doing we degrade the concept of “soul” … then the predictable happens, and we ignore it and keep churning along … on a hamster wheel of self -deception, ignoring reality and calling mass delusion “reality” …. over and over and over … old Best Picture winners turn into kitsch or trash … no one is exempt … not even the Founding Fathers … success is just a split second thing … wise or foolish respect for something worth a lot, a little or nothing — time and perspective will always tell if you go the other way … I decide the value of my life … no one else … I choose my words and deeds … no one else … the pursuit of success for its own sake seems to me to be a form of slavery … my point isn’t to be successful — it is to share who I am … to reach each and every person that I am meant to be with … )

Success had no value

that’s what I say

except …

that it brings resources to

connect the words to the people they are intended for

people that the writer can’t possibly know

as he writes on the outer edge of his existence

word by word inching into his unknown …

The real writer is too smart for any publisher or producer that he knows of when he is writing (writing is always a leap of faith … deeper, farther, farther, deeper … )

The real writer has no instinct for self-promotion

The real writer needs partners who handle the business aspects of his work

The real writer just writes

and has faith that his words will …

a writer talks seemingly to himself

with the faith that someone else is out there

who will appreciate them

who will need them

They always show up

in handfuls or by the thousands

I think the need for success for its own sake

automatically makes the work done to achieve that success


and the person who is so driven to be a big deal

an asshole

That may seem simplistic, but in my experience

it’s always true

I think success

is an idea made up by salesmen

“The Art of the Deal”

blasphemes art

It calls manipulation creativity

It’s a big bullshit lie

I think a culture that worships success for its own sake

is no culture at all

Honesty, truth, knowledge

count with me

Power for its own sake

Not so much

But here is where it gets complicated

The world needs value to be recognized

the world doesn’t have to keep traveling in its sorry way

and some people who are really good

and their work which is really good

Get recognized

The question now is not

How do they do it?

The question is

How does it happen?

How does anything real happen?

You live your life in a true way

and you are open to what comes your way.

Success is a red herring

It’s pursuit deflects you from what you are meant to do

If you stick with who you are and what you do

it becomes something else and takes you places

Stick with who you are

Bradley Cooper’s character in this movie

is conflicted between success and art and personal ethics and integrity

It’s a phony conflict

It’s no contest

I don’t give a shit about making it

I just want to do it

all aspects of it

including sharing it.

Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

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