epigone \EP-uh-gohn\, noun: An inferior imitator, especially of some distinguished writer, artist, musician, or philosopher.
This was the word of the day today on dictionary.com, and it seemed worthy of rumination.
When one writes and shares one's writings with others, one always hopes that one's writing has an impact of some kind, that one's voice has something about it which draws others in and offers something unique, something which adds to others' lives. As a young man studying the visual arts, I eventually abandoned my pursuits due to a troubling feeling that I would never move beyond the realm of being derivative. As an ersatz young musician, I also could not help but feel that my musical vision had little to offer that had not been said before. Only in the form of the written word did I feel any chance of communicating something even remotely individual.
This venue for writing has been---and continues to be---perfect for me. While I know and have known many people who write for remuneration, I am very happy to have found a vehicle through which I can share my thoughts yet remain relatively free from both editing and literary criticism. While I enjoy people's comments on this site, the comments tend to be more of the supportive kind, or perhaps a personal reaction to the subject at hand and how I've communicated my feelings and thoughts about it. I love the community feeling engendered among bloggers, how we bookmark and blogroll our favorite bloggers, steer others towards blogs we love, and otherwise support one another in our efforts. For me, it is a public journal, really, and a journal is not something which we offer up for criticism, yet we sometimes wish to share its intimacy with others.
I occasionally ask myself why I have never chosen to pursue technical writing, fiction, medical journalism, or even joining a site such as Authors Den. The clear fact at this point in my life is that I'm not writing in order to receive criticism or editing, have no desire to publish in the "real" world, and want nothing more than to share my thoughts with a few people out there in cyberland who want to spend a few minutes perusing my site from time to time. Some might wonder if I undervalue my writing, fearing that if I truly faced the publishing and literary worlds, I might just be branded an epigone, or worse. Perhaps there is a grain of truth to that assertion, and if so, then so be it. The important lesson for me in all of this---life, writing, blogging, nursing---is impermanence. Change, alteration, the cyclical nature of existence---this is the crux of it all, and gratitude for our moment under the sun is of paramount and crucial importance.
Epigone? Derivative? Afraid of failure and rejection? It doesn't matter in the grander scheme. These words on virtual paper are from me to you, written with an attitude of openness and genuineness. Let's continue to strip away that which does not serve us, and instead stick with the wheat of existence: love and compassion. The rest---worry, desire, rejection, failure, regret---is just chaff.