Saturday, April 04, 2009
LIfe's got me by the Peter
There are people who tell me I am sucess-shy.
Certainly gun-shy of late.
Every so often I hit a publishing streak, get myself on the staff of a magazine, Wirite up a storm, get an honourable mention if not a premier award, get a writing grant, and they all say "you go boy."
But wise old editors say, more often than not,"Good. But can you keep it up?" Well, usually I can, but after about a year, I run out of gas. Expending all that adrenaline, drinking jugs of coffee and about twelve beers at night to come down with; I do a roman candle. Fizz! The image is more complete since there is smoke seemingly coming out of all my apertures, whoosh!-- from the cigarettes I'm chain smoking.
A friend once explained myself to me. "Nice guy, IQ of probably of a mildly retarded girl, Normal, I guess.
"But then he cranks himself up on all those legal chemicals, does a Brewster McCloud, Icarus with flames shooting out of his ass, Whoosh. Crash. Per Ardua ad Terra.
Brewster McCloud, from that old movie, wings patched back up, climbing the terraces of the Houston Astrodome again, to launch himself once more. And wow. Flight.
But for how long?
If the wings don't melt, the cops'll get ya.
Getting to the top nearly every time, but durn, no stamina.
"Good. But can you keep it up?"
I got as far as magazine editor. Takes some brains, art aptitude, even cunning, because the young Turks are all around, out for your scalp.
But then the incubus that thing that seem to sit on your chest, draining all that artiificial life out of you, that energy you'd hoarded from all that coffee, all those cigarettes and all that booze.
Struggling with the incubus.
Like a psycho. "Get off!"
The episode passes.
But there is still an enervation. Weakness.
On top, and out of gas.
Perhabs my metaphors are too vague.
Put it this way: A cartoonist become successful. But they put him in a cage, where only a scant lunch is served by a grudgingly admiring jailer now and again. His ediorial keepers demand more and more from him, poor starving pokemon, until one day there is just an india ink splat on the tile floor and the skeleton of a hand.holding pen. This is success? Yes. More often than not.
There are of course those who are like the Enegrizer Bunny, they kee going and going and going. Dave Letterman comes to mind. But then another coronary. Gotta retire. Even Leno is slowing down.
And the life went out of MAD Magazine decades ago.
(I get notes from the wonderful Willie Elder, creator of Melvin Mole, a Man out of Conrol. But with Mr. Willie it's age and not burnout. He never did burn out and keeps drawing up to this day).
But myself, I am Mr. Burnout.
Two years to get an idea. Another six months to sell it.
Sell it big time....They want more material!
And then blank.NeeNeeNanneeNanninoonah!
Ferdinand the Bull. Sniffing daisies." Wha?...Whoaaah."
Peter Principle, I guess. Everybody gets promoted to his level of incompetence.
If I'd only listened to that wise barmaid that night.
"Stay small, or you'll go crazy."