Are you a liar?
I bet you are.
We all are.
We have been programmed by society to go through life wearing a series of masks all designed to protect the real you from ever being revealed to anyone.
We are so good at lying to people that we even lie to ourselves.
Most of the time you don’t even realize you are lying to yourself, and you believe everything you say, you really do, but every now and then something just doesn’t feel right to you.
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something you have just said doesn’t seem right.
That’s the lie.
A week ago today I wrote an article called Confessions of a Poker Writer: Why I Respect Erick Lindgren. There were two reasons that I chose to write about Lindgren. Firstly, I am a former gambling addict who recently started to fly back into the pitcher plant. I started to gorge and feared that I wouldn’t be able to escape.
Secondly, I wanted to choose a topic that would stoke up some controversy.
Because that’s my job.
I knew I would get some negative feedback about the article, but I also hoped that people would see my point of view. The point of view of a former addict who has empathy, compassion and forgiveness for another human being.
I guess I was wrong.
“Dude, that article is absolutely ridiculous.”
“There were several dumb things in there.”
“Horrible reasoning and logic”
“Heaping praise on him is the lamest thing ever”
Those were a few of the tweets I received.
A few days later I was searching through 2+2 to find something to write about when I stumbled upon the ‘Erick Lindgren Owes Over $100,000 For Fantasy League, Won’t Pay’ thread and thought I would see if they were talking about my article.
As I read the abuse I told myself that it didn’t hurt. You see I don’t care what people think. It’s a story that I have told myself ever since I was first called a Chink and had to ask my mother if any of our family members were Chinese, only to find out that my father was before he fucked off and left me in the womb.
I had to place a tortoise shell over my head to protect me from the childish racial abuse and I guess it has stuck throughout my life.
I don’t care what people think.
What a liar I am.
It hurts like a Motherfucker.
This is what it’s like to be a writer. You express your opinion with the view of creating an emotional connection with the world, and in return you receive praise and criticism.
You can take the easy route out.
Just choose simple subjects to write about, stick with the facts and avoid opinion.
But what’s the point of that?
When I read a story, listen to a tale or watch a movie I want my opinions, beliefs and convictions stretched to breaking point. I want to cry, laugh, and to reconsider my understanding of the way I view life.
That’s the way I try to write.
To create a divide between people, to make people talk, tweet, and Facebook the hell out of what I have written. It’s all part of the job.
When I started out as a writer I received a lot of praise, which is why I stuck with it. My ego was massaged and it gave me the confidence to give it a real shot.
The first time I received any real criticism of note was when I was writing a blog on Bluefire Poker. It was so personal. Not so much an attack on my writing but an attack on my person.
Then I realized.
That’s what people do.
My wife wanted me to watch Russell Brand in concert. I told her I didn’t want to go and watch him because he was a bigheaded idiot. I bought her the DVD, watched the show and now think he’s amazing.
Is he a bigheaded idiot, or is he amazing?
I read a book by Stanton Peele called The Meaning of Addiction and thought the man had a few screws loose because he said you could drink moderately after being an alcoholic.
I interviewed him yesterday and he is now one of the most inspirational people I have ever met.
Is he an idiot or is he inspirational?
The truth is I don’t know because I don’t know them. All you can do is base an opinion on the facts that you have at the time. Unfortunately, for me I like to include a side order of assumption.
This is what it’s like to be a writer.
You have to thin slice.
You have to take a polaroid picture, shake it, glance at it and get out your scribe and go to work.
In order to keep on keeping on you have to come to terms with this, which in turn means that you have to come to terms with the pain the criticism causes.
It hurt when I was called a Chink when I was 10, it hurt when I was 18, I hurt when I was 28, it hurts today and it will continue to hurt until the day I die.
If you want to hurt me then go to town on my character and my ability to do my job and you will succeed.
I’ve just got to take it.
Because I’m a writer and that’s what we do.