I’ve been reading through this relatively new GQ article/interview with filmmaker Martin Scorsese and came across a few sentences that hit me right between the eyes.
“I always liked being nominated at the Academy, even though knowing – especially the fact that they didn’t nominate us for Taxi Driver” – the film was nominated, as were its stars, Jodie Foster and Robert De Niro, but not Scorsese or his screenwriter, Paul Schrader – “and Raging Bull, when I didn’t get the Oscar, I understood that that wasn’t my lot in life. But I always said this: just be quiet and make the movies. You can’t make a movie for an award. Sure, I would’ve liked it, but like, so what? I mean, I had to go on and make pictures.”
Maybe it’s just where I’m at in life at the moment, but more and more, it feels like things wander off course when I get caught up in how things are received by others. Whether it’s wanting people to like what I’ve written or even just to read what I’ve written, there’s a distinct feeling that my eye isn’t on the ball. And, more than likely, that ball is coming straight for my head.
There’s no way I would’ve planned how this year has gone from May onward. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but there was all the excitement of a book release… and then more important things in life came along. In the intervening months, promotion has been way down my list of priorities, if it even makes the list. It’s been enough for me to just keep writing at all on a lot of days.
I knew that my book wasn’t going to set the world on fire because… well… how many books of poetry do, let along independently published books of poetry from someone that the world at large has never heard of? My main goal wasn’t to sell a million copies or become independently wealthy from the profits – it was for people to have the opportunity to read what I felt was a pretty damn good collection of poems. A modest goal, I thought.
But now that I’ve typed that… I kinda accomplished that goal, didn’t I? The book is out there for people to discover and there’s already been quite a few people who have bought and read it. So… what exactly am I complaining about again?
The one thing that has remained constant for me throughout the process is… the process. I do my best to keep writing through it all, even when I know the lines I scribbled down that day will more than likely never see the light of day. Recently, I’ve stalled out quite a bit and realized that I need to spend some more time revising and making sure poems from old notebooks are saved on my computer. It’s all part of keeping quiet and doing the work.
So what if Marty and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on superhero flicks? At least we can agree on something.