Monday, January 26, 2009

Is everything about who you know?

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Basketball Diaries, then you know who Jim Carroll is. If you’ve ever heard the song "People Who Died", then you know who Jim Carroll is. He has a website where you can see photos of the guy, if you’d like, although most of the links don’t work because the site is being updated.

Jim Carroll was born in New York City in 1950. As a teenager, Jim did two things – heroin and poetry. As a teenager, I did the same two things, or maybe I should say that I tried heroin. I tried a lot of things. But I did write a ton of poetry. Some of it I still have. At age 16, Jim managed to get published. This is where the similarities between Jim and I stop. Maybe if I had done more heroin, I’d be a published too. But I doubt it. Heroin was awesome, I must admit, but it also scared the shit out of me. That feeling that everything was perfect and wonderful in the world. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew it wasn’t true.

I have read many of Jim’s poems. No offense, Jim, but they are nothing special. I’m not saying they are bad, but they aren’t great. I read much better stuff here on Blogger all the time. Stuff by people who aren’t published and probably never will be. Because being recognized by someone who can get you published is hard. It’s damn hard. I've been trying for years. So how did he do it? How did some Catholic school, basketball playing, heroin shooting, mediocre poet kid get published? How did he get such a following?

It’s not his looks. It’s not his music. It’s not his poetry.

According to his website, some guy named Ted Berrigan helped him out a little when he was young. Is it who you know? Is everything about who you know?

If it is, then that makes me feel a little better for some reason. It means I could be the best poet in the entire world, but because I never met the right person when I was high or coming down or sober, no one will ever be ordering my used paperbacks through Amazon. Mine or any of the other fantastic poets that I read here on the net. Instead, they’ll be ordering Jim Carroll’s. Because Jim was in the right place at the right time. Because Jim met someone.

I write because I like to write. Because some days it’s all I know. My escape from life in the form of metaphor. So the world can hear me cry without having to shed a tear. I don’t need to be published, but when I read the likes of Jim Carroll, I can’t help but say to myself, “My stuff is better than his.”

1 comment:

  1. I have thought the same thing about some of my own writings. I think it is fair for you to take consolation in the fact that you don't know the right people - yet. The internet is a vast place and it is much easier to meet those people these days.