Like so many before me, I often dream of becoming an Important Writer. A voice of an era, the backbone of our culture, a pillar that helps uphold what makes us human. I dream of speaking at book fairs and being a regular guest on the most accomplished literary podcasts. When I close my eyes, I can picture, in full HD or 4K or whatever the most up to date resolution is, my tearful acceptance speech as I’m holding a Fancy Accolade in my hand, searching for familiar faces in the crowd. Or, on other days, I visit the smallest of libraries in the worst of neighborhoods and make great conversations about art, books (life itself). Because well, to quote Jenny from the Block, “No matter where I go, I know where I came from”.
I am, at this very moment too, running an episode of my fantasized fame and imagined recognition while attending a meeting that would only intensify the existential dread you feel when you’re stuck at a job that could be best described as being far from intellectually fulfilling.
I should devote a few lines to the real archetypes of such corporate meetings: it feels like we have the same characters joining in each and every time, regardless of countries, time zones, positions, or the topics that are covered during the virtual get-togethers. You’ve got the Overeager Colleague who would post cute little welcome messages in the chat board – Hi, Everonye HEART HEART HEART emoji – even though they already said hello, twice in fact, to the whole group. The other extreme is the Incognito Type, no camera, no microphone, not even a half-whispered hello or a wave (emoticon) in said chat group. Then there are the OCIs (Online Communication Illiterates) who cover their camera with a post-it instead of turning it off or hold their phone in the weirdest – and sometimes most terrifying – angles while they seem to have forgotten about the video part of a video call. The Ignorant Freaks clearly multitask which would not be such a big deal had they turned their camera off, but since they didn’t, you can see them looking anywhere but the presentation and doing anything but paying attention to what’s being discussed. (At least, have the common decency to turn your camera off.) (As I did while I’m writing this.)
But back to my original point: wanting to be an Important Writer.
In the world of self-made millionaires, business owners, Insta gurus (?), Insta models (?), and the OnlyFans celebrities, one could think that if these people – and I am intentionally avoiding the usage of any labels or adjectives here that could potentially bear a hint of sarcasm – could make it, then you, YOU, reading this, you, with your own aspirations and habits of following the Steps to Success listed by any (or every) New York Times bestseller author, you must stand a chance as well!
In my case, however, it’s all the more confusing, and, at the same time, discouraging. Does the world even need Writers? And how the hell can you be Important, a voice in the noise, a beam of light in the omnipresent darkness? Especially if or when both the noise and the darkness feel so overwhelming that they keep you up at night and therefore make you addicted to naps which would then lead to such simple endeavors as sleeping becoming kind of stressful. But thank god for the new post of The Trophy Wife Influencer that is there for you to check at 2 PM: she unpacks a miracle mattress that will not only help you sleep better, lose weight, solve your relationship problems, but provide parental and career advice at the same time. Use promo code dreamcometrue50 for a 50% discount. Link in bio.
“We have had some problems with the Helvetica typeface” – and I’m quoting here. As I was about to finish my rant in the paragraph above, already gasping for air, ready to pack my stuff and move to a nearby forest to pursue a non-digital nomad life, Serious Guy middle name Overeager Colleague uttered this sentence with such concern that you would not be able to spot in a surgeon’s voice before, during, or after a major operation. You know, open-heart surgery is one thing, but problems with the Helvetica typeface?!
I guess, it sums up what causes the confusion and discouragement: focusing on the wrong things. Not knowing, not remembering anymore what’s important. It takes effort now to distinguish the important from the said-to-be-important, to tell the real-dream and Insta-dream apart. At first glance, they look so much alike, yet they could hardly be more different.