Everyone has been both of these. On more occasions than not, people get mired in hero worship acting as if the accomplishment of their self-appointed godlings are their own. Mired in the quicksand of self-satisfied coat-tail riding keeps our eyes on other people’s prizes. Snatching up the work of others and creating an altar to their endeavors is a full-time job and the more prolific they are the less time you have for your own victories.
I remember when I gave up each of my heroes. One by one destroying the altars I built for them. I wanted to be a comic book artist from the moment I could understand what that meant. To the point that my first word was “Batman”. I loved Joe Kubert. The Unknown Soldier killing nazi’s, Tarzan’s struggles in the jungle or the scary, dark tales of “Ghosts”, his art was gritty, dramatic and chaos under control. I created my own variations of his work and I aspired to draw the sacred panels. But along the way, I stopped trying to be Kubert and started following my own creative path. I quickly realized I didn’t hold the willing spirit to suffer to be the next Joe Kubert.
I trained vocally, aspiring to be the next Eric Adams. I played in bands periodically. Paroxysm was my first try in seventh grade. I remembering penning the lyrics and melody for the masterpiece, “School Sucks”. Then others, Fool, being my last try. I remember wanting the band to resemble a mix of Machine Head, Nevermore, and Fates Warning. It was watching Warrel Dane and company at the Al Rosa Villa that my perspective changed. I no longer looked at the band with astonishment but rather thinking I want to see them less than I wanted to create on my own. After several months of classical vocal training and song-writing, however, I realized that this was not my avenue for creation. I just didn’t feel like giving up any comforts to get anywhere with it.
I realized that in soaking up the joys of others’ triumphs that I was failing to make my own. I needed to find my own way and what it was I loved enough to kill myself to achieve. I chased writing down so many corridors that I can’t believe I found it in my Minoan journey. I co-wrote motion picture scripts with my brother, I re-wrote ghost stories submitted to my retired radio show, Grand Dark Conspiracy into five-minute radio plays. I wrote copy for marketing materials in my years as a graphic designer/marketing manager.
I never considered writing, because all my heroes weren’t writers. They were musicians, film-makers, comic book artists, and athletes. They had followed their own paths and taken the time to chase their passions to their limits. Sure I’ve read literally tons of books, but I never aspired to be just like Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Allen Eckert, Roger Zelazny, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling or any others. In fact, I read almost exclusively non-fiction textbook style tomes. I was blinding myself with all these shiny deified creative type people that I had set above me.
Through the years, I tore down the pantheon of false gods I created. I knew I had to stop being a sycophant and be a do-er. Do that thing that I ached to do. The thing that has me wake up at 3:30am and sit till the sun comes up. The thing that I must not be away from for more than a day. I’ve found it, killed my sycophant and started doing.