There are different types of kindness, certainly. Kindness towards others. Kindness toward the self. Kindness in action. Kindness in words. Kindness in intent, possibly.
There are kindnesses that affect global populations, like creating algae that converts carbon dioxide to oxygen in order to save the planet (thanks, Sean Murphy, for that idea! Read Punk Rock Jesus, if you haven’t). There are smaller kindnesses, like helping an old woman across the street or making a kid laugh when they’re feeling down.
These smaller kindnesses are infinitely more attainable to the average person who isn’t a scientific supergenius with unlimited resources, and therefore, much more applicable to the everyday person. It’s these I must master if I want to improve the quality of my contributions to life.
Kindness toward the self is critical for me these days as well. I feel, at most moments, as though I’m a failure and little I’ve done lately has made me feel much different. No matter the effort, no matter how hard or smart I work, no matter what problems I solve or ideas I have, it seems not to matter. It’s never enough.
Perhaps I haven’t found my tribe. I’m a recluse at best and I prefer a small company of friends to any grand gathering, so I’m certainly potentially to blame for that, at least in part.
Partly, I’m not sure what I do is conducive to sales, even selling it to an agent. I’ve been published a few times lately, but mostly to outlets that aren’t there to make authors money, but to promote art.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always striven for that universal “what does it all mean?”, greater depth thing. I need themes, not just plot. I need complex characters, not bodies moving from one place to another. I can appreciate that in a popcorn movie or spy novel, but from me?
It’s beneath me.
I suppose that makes me egotistical, if it weren’t for the ever-present sense of failure at living up to that level of expectation for myself.
My life is a perpetual state of fear.
Maybe popcorn is the way to go, but in the end, can I even do it? Everything I write gets too big, too grand, something that feels so far beyond my reach that I end up paralyzed by my own inability (and my own fear of finding out just how deep that inability runs). Then, of course, I see others doing it so fucking well and I want to throw up my hands and ask, “what could I possibly have to offer that hasn’t been done elsewhere better by someone more qualified?”
Pray for me, if you’re the praying type. I will need all the kindness I can muster to move past this.
Target: 700 words
Written: 94 words, novella: The Mungk