Hello! This is Alice!
So, the other day I ran into a particularly murky post on Facebook. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but it was packed with big-ass statements like, “Doctors don’t make you healthy. Teachers don’t make you learn. Trainers don’t make you fit.”
The point of the post was that you gotta take one-hundred percent responsibility for yourself. All that you do, all that you achieve, is entirely due to you.
So, how is that murky, and why am I pissed off as all hell?
First, anybody can see that the statements don’t make sense. Doctors are, in fact, a great help in defeating diseases. Kids don’t pick skills up from thin air, teachers have a lot to do with the process. And how many top-level athletes don’t have coaches?
I know what the post was trying to say – that we shouldn’t relinquish self-responsibility, and should instead focus on being self-reliant. Now, that brings me to my second point, the thing that makes me pissed off.
It’s this fucking godawful modern idea that humans are fucking islands. You know, this individual-worshipping bullshit. This idea that “YOU can create the PERFECT you”, or whatever shitty words the demagogues use.
Let me just come out and say this: nobody on this goddamn stinky planet is ANYTHING without other people.
All of us need help, in some way or other.
All of us were raised by the herd. All of us need the herd.
The herd is nothing to laugh at. The herd is power. The herd is glory.
And, since Alice’s blog is about writing, Imma turn this around to the writing topos, don’t ya worry. However, I’m not gonna say, “If you a writer, get help.” I mean, that’s pretty good advice, and it applies to all ability levels and states of health. But what I wanna say is far more important.
If you a writer, give help.
It’s nice if you wanna further your own career. I don’t blame y’all for that. Perfect your craft, amass readers, yeah, all that stuff. But realise, at some point, that we’re not here for me.
We’re here for us. We’re here for the great herd.
So go out and give help.
Don’t just look for beta readers for your novel. Be a beta reader yourself. Don’t just go asking for reviews, review books yourself. If you’re in a writing group, don’t smash the other members with your witty wit. Instead, brainstorm with them, encourage them, and comfort them. If you blog, don’t just fish for followers, but go out, read other folks’ blogs, talk with them, be with them.
Ask payment for your help if you feel like, but consider also giving it for free. And realise what “free” truly means here. It means “without any obligation to return the favour”. Too often, even a thing ostensibly given for free contains a hidden fee. I pat your back, so you must pat mine.
Forget it, peeps. Do truly free work. Don’t expect even thanks. Expect nothing.
That’s the hard core of helping. You help, even when you know that all your efforts will be forgotten, and the one you helped will claim, “I alone made the perfect me!”
Even so, you help. You do it because at the bottom of your soul, beneath the layers of pettiness, beneath the layers of loathing, beneath the layers of me-first,
there is nothing but love.