The Metamorphosis: The Worm
This is the first part in a new series I am doing, ‘The Metamorphosis’ is your new spinach, and I hope that I can at least help you some in your writing through this series. This is the first part, the Worm. The beginning of your journey through the literary world, helping you find your way after a bad storm blew you out. I’ll try and publish this weekly, if now as quickly as I can get it all out, I’m only breaking it up because it would be too long as one post. Also, remember most of all that I am only a Freshman in High School, and I’m not a professional writer (as much as I would like to be) by any means, so you don’t have to take me too seriously, I’m only going off of what I have learned over the past eight or so years of my writing career thus far, so I don’t know everything, and I don’t expect you to believe I do, this is but one of thousands of resources, though if I could recommend some things, you can find it in this series. My favorite writing book is On Writing by Stephen King because a) I fucking love Stephen King, b) it’s just a great book and c) It really connects with you if you are a true writer, because he captures all the emotions and feelings and everything that you will need to begin writing or improve your writing up to the point that you are at. I wish to both perk you up if you have found yourself in a rut, and I also wish to help your own writing and mine, hopefully one day I could actually compile a book and publish it. When I get good enough at this thing that is. Hope you enjoy, the next part, the Beetle will be up As. Soon. As. Possible, or as you young hipsters say nowadays: ASAP!
To say the least, I have been depressed.
Several times this week, my mind has been shooting arrows through itself because it can’t properly hold up a bow, and a loud thunder of self pity and insult has shocked me and murdered me rather than bringing back to life like Frankenstein’s Monster. I feel like I’ve just gone to bed for a very long time, and my lips have been sealed shut not by string, but by iron ores, and no screams can be heard sixteen feet deep under the earth. For the past few days I have walked sleepily and dreamily from place to place, a passerbyer to the ever changing age, I’m trapped in a well and the bloods getting slicker, slicker–slicker; like a prune, I’m running thin. There are a thousand souls and spirits a ghouls running up and down my stairs at night, banging and clanging the pans all through the night, tap-tap-tap at my door by their sharp-soft claws, cold fingers run against my skin, and I’m trying to manage as I hold myself against the unsteady earth, my heart already long unearthed. I’m cracked, I’m broken, and I’m falling apart, but in a flash of brilliant white light, I’m Gandalf and I’m back B-I-T-C-H!
Anyhow, I’m back with a passion because I say screw feeling sorry for myself, because I’m getting nowhere. Do you want to know when the last time was that I finished a story? March, and that wasn’t even a real story, it was The Farm, which I’m through soliciting for a little while. If you don’t understand, that’s a bad thing. I should be churning out one story a week, I’m young, schools almost out, and I honestly have nothing better to do, I just keep stalling by watching Netflix and YouTube, or simply staring at the walls in my room. I have books to read, things to write, a body to shape up (to say the least, I’m flabby), yet I just keep wallowing in my glorious pool of pity, sorrow, and depression, and it’s doing nothing! I have become some kind of weird, male version of Bella Swan, every time I get a chance it’s like all I can do is let out this breath like I’m a deflated balloon that someone keeps airing up again because it’s fun. Anyhow, that’s over, and it’s time that I move on.
I recently read a very ’empowering’ post that really got me in this mood; you can read it here and feel the same empowerment that I’m feeling, but don’t go just yet. I want to talk about what you should do after you take a sword and murder the monster of your depression or whatever beast is pinning you down.
Firstly, you need to eat spinach.
Nah, just kidding.
Kind of. Spinach is pretty good.
But, if we’re talking figurative spinach, then I’m serious. You need to read: I mean, read a lot. I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again because if you’re going to write anything that anyone is going to give two fucks about, then you need to read like hell. You need to not only read everything that you get your hands on, but you do in fact need to read the greats. Now I’m not saying just go off and fuck all the rest of the modern authors like Karen Russel or Stephen King, but I mean you need to read some classics every now and then. You have to understand several things about them, what made them classics:
a) What period were they written in: what was popular at that time, why would they write this book, were there any political issues that they might have hinted at or commentated on. An example would be War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, one of the most massive books that you will ever read (yes, you will read/eat your vegetables, Tommy, no more questions about it!). It is written during and about Napoleon’s Conquest of Europe, and is as much a classic peace of literature as it is one of the longest history essays ever written. I heard Tolstoy was assigned it in eighth grade, wrote two double spaced pages and his teacher gave him an F. So, he decided to redo it, and this was it. I also heard he still got a C on it. Yikes!
b) Controversy: The greatest books have always been plagued with controversy and criticism, in fact, for a book reviewer, it’s probably heaven getting to pick apart these books like ravens because they believe they’re just terrible strife! If you learn what made some of the classics controversial, then you can understand how to make your own writing as profound as theirs, maybe you’ll start some controversy too. The reason you want to learn and be able to create controversy is because, that means you book is challenging something, it’s changing something, and people are reacting; you have to be the spark that starts the fire, not the other way around, meaning you can’t be the water that put the fire out. No one likes heroes you know.
c) The Author: I know too many people who read who only know about the book (sometimes not even that) and never the author for which they are reading; this means they do no research and are always taken by surprise at a new release or when the author makes headlines because they don’t bother to learn the author or study them on the lowest level, they just consume. It really annoys me when people do this, so don’t be that person. In order to understand what makes the classics the classics, you have to know what made this author write this book, who he or she was: get into their head. The greatest tool to writing is probably life itself, if not the only real tool you need. Anyone can write a short story, novella, or novel about something that happened int their life if it struck them enough, since everyone does have a novel in them, and by this logic, we can see how certain events affected them, how they drew from these events and used them effectively. This is the heart and soul of writing, and you should learn this skill as it is one of the most important rules you must learn if you ever wish to be a successful novelist.
Moving right along, let’s actually get into the juicy bit of this post:
You need to learn how to not give a fuck and destroy the world.
Everyone has a certain level of judgement: you are either a person who is easily hurt by judgement, or you’re one of the lucky ones who have grown a fourth ball and when you get a hard kick, you laugh because you’re so numb it dosen’t even hurt even more. You never want to be the former, you always want to be the later.
The world of writing is a jungle , a viscous, viscous jungle full of crows called reviewers and editors, snakes called agents, tigers called publishers, and of course small little worms called writers. Of course, not all of them are worms, some of them have grown up to be big strong bears, sharks, and sometimes lions. They are the worms who dared: the ones who broke through the skin of the apple and ate, they grew inside that apple. They even ate the seeds, and because of this they were able to hone their skills, sharpen their claws, and eat the snakes, dodge the crows, and finally go to battle with tigers, and they’ve come out victorious more times than once. They have battle scars, ladies and gentlemen, and these are the people that you should be looking up to. Lets take it back to the land of the worms, where everyone is withering and twisting in a disgusting, jumbled mess of worms and maggots as they all fester at the bottom of a trashcan reaching for the light as they listen to the constant call of crows above.
You are a small worm, you haven’t eaten in weeks, and you think you might be dying from the stench of this place that you have called home. You have seen several worms escape the endless pit already, of course, you have also seen their entrails tossed down as an example from the crows who have pecked your dear friend Bill’s eyes out, and you’re wondering, “Well how the hell am I supposed to survive up there if even Bill didn’t?” Well, firstly, you have to learn from Bill that, you have to be able to fight through the blood and nails that line the well and climb up; you have to rise up and be strong enough, willing enough to break free. The second thing that you need to learn from Bill is that, Bill didn’t have enough of a gall to survive up there with the crows, he couldn’t do it. When the first one came at him, he was already scurrying away, not that it’s bad to (that’s just good survival), but then a second and third started to come at him, and never at first because they wanted to eat him, they just wanted to check him out, and he panicked, floundered around and died. So, you learned two things from Bill, and one of them is that, you can’t be afraid when the first crow comes up to you, because that crow could be your first break to the apples and peaches, the garden as the transform into a beetle or a hornet.
So, you’ve learned now after you’ve watched the carcus’s of Jenny, Lewis, and John fall down the pit: you’re finally getting the point of it all, and now you’re getting really hungry and the crows are getting louder: they’re hungry as well, and you’re thinking: “How can they still be hungry? How in Gods name?! But…But I got to get up there, I got to get up there, it is getting really dark down here you know.” So, you take your first inch to climb up the well as you hear the constant hiss and scorn of those you thought to be your companions, because for the first time in your life, you’re doing more than they ever have. So you inch and inch, and you fall because you didn’t finish the story, you stopped short of a couple of hundred more words, you lost faith in yourself, you got scarred; or a billion other reasons, but now you’re back on the ground, and you’re crying, but you cannot stay on the ground, you have to get back up, keep climbing. One measly story or doubt cannot be your downfall, it cannot be the thing that destroys the empire you have worked so hard to even start up at this point, so you start climbing again. Now, the thing that sets you apart from the previous who have climbed is that you have watched, you have observed, you have listened to the sobbing stories of your dead friends’s ghosts, and you know how to get up there: you are prepared. So, you take a break, and now you wrap yourself in a chrysalis, and you break out sometime later bearing crimson robes: wings! And you learn to fly, even if it takes you a while, you’re on a roll again: story after story, a novella, a couple of blog posts, you’ve even managed to read three books this week, maybe more, and most of all, you’re feeling on top of the world about everything, because you know with assurance: you got this (improper grammar? Appropriate!)
So, you reach the top of the well, you’ve been flapping for over the week now,and suddenly you can feel something: wind, fresh air; it’s so dank down there in that hole it’s hard to remember what freshness actually was. You can also hear something from behind you, a loud beating, not the wind; and then a caw: the crows. They swoop in over you, casting shadows all around, and the single stream of light that streams between them beams on you a spotlight. Up until this point, you had this. Now, you’re palms are sweaty, and as you prepare to release your first collection on Kindle or something, you’re starting to have second guesses (you’ve seen the reviews for John’s book: I viscerally hated this book, it was absolute drivel, strife, and trash! I never knew there were so many ways to describe someones hair, and that awful metaphor for life as a soda can exploding? UGH! What is this book even about anyways? The plot was absolutely nonexistent, it was a bad attempt as a rehash of Carroll’s Wonderland, and what about that nonsense baby scene where Karen–if that was the characters name, it changed like fifty times over the course of this ‘book-… and that was only an excerpt from it!) because you’re terrified of the reaction that you’re going to get from it, but then you remember that: the crows are only checking you out.
You click ‘publish’. You’re in.
So this is what the world looks like: all around you, it’s a complete madhouse. While the skies may be blue, crows, are everywhere, there are snakes biting and hissing at hornets and small woodland creatures as they try to take a stab at them, and you can see tigers watching lazily in the trees just a little beyond the Rancor pit, their tails dancing slowly as they lick their lips as they watch a measly squirrel prepare to take them on. Ha! Even so, all you can hear and see are the black, almost shapeless figures that are cawing at you,k picking at you, but you’re dodging them because as review after review comes in from their loud beaks, you suddenly feel a hardening within you. The first one wasn’t so bad, in fact, they gave it three stars, that’s pretty damn good! The second one had a little criticism, but no biggie, you still got this, because by the third one, you feel a little more pride, a little more confidence: it wasn’t so bad after all. But then, a big, fat, pompous crow that holds it’s beak up high and it’s eyes are extra-beady flaps the others away just to inspect you with it’s big chest and eyes hanging over you like oppressive storm clouds, from out of his throat, you feel the full force of the heaviest caw you may have ever come to be attacked by in all your days. And you feel almost crushed, but you take what he says in stride, or maybe it means little to you, even so, you’re stronger now, and you move on, flapping aside from the big pompous bird and suddenly your wings fall off, panic filters through you, but then your outer worm shell breaks off, and black skin escapes your flesh, and then from the skin a shell emerges: you have transformed into a beetle, and now you’re making your way to the floor of the jungle: the real madhouse.
Not really a conclusion, more of an end note, but still. We all want to get somewhere, we all have a destination and the only way to get there is to buy your ticket. I’d love to will a Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Grant, and maybe even a Peace Prize in Literature one day, and even if I only reach one of those goals, I still would like to get to one of those destinations, and the only way I can get there is to : pull my head out of my clouded ass, smell the bitter roses of reality, and start digging to find that story within me and write; I need to buck up, stop feeling sorry for myself and write. I need to just write.
Where ever you’re planning on going, you need to get there without caring what others think of you, you need to learn to just get up and go, let NOTHING hold you back from ascertaining that goal, whether you want to be an engineer (sorry, I don’t hold you on as high a pedestal as my own kind, writers, but still), a programmer, designer (of games, clothes, fanny packs), or the next big singer (I honestly don’t know who you would want to role model right now in the world of music), or next Jennifer Lawrence or Bryan Cranstan, you need to literally give it 250%, you have to punch the soul eaters, you have to punch the babies in your head, and you even need to punch your own mama whose coddling you; you need to be some glorious phoenix that rises from the billowing cimmarion ashes of your former self and from the swirling auric flames of your birth and fly high in the sky, a star turning night to day and chasing comets: stars are too small for you.
Until next time, cheers!