If there's one thing the Internet has taught me, it is that I am a writer because I tell people that's what I am. Wait, that's not exactly true. I'm a writer because I decided I'm one. Wait. Maybe I'm a writer because I put some stuff on the Internet with my name next to it.
Never mind the years of training and trial and error and being mentored. None of that shit means a thing these days. Apparently, all one needs is a "Fuck You" attitude and they too are writers. I'm not sure when everybody decided to emulate Harlan Ellison, but there is one vital component to his personality they just might be lacking: HE'S A GENIUS!
I have no quarrell with the Eminem School of "Me Being Me." We all bring different experiences and outlooks to the table. It's what makes life bearable. But it isn't the final word on whether or not someone has talent. In fact, the worse a person's attitude, the worse their prose, in many cases.
I've always subscribed to the Pay it Forward mentality when it comes to aspiring writers, a trait I've learned is rare among my colleagues. Lately I've begun to see why they may be right and I may be wrong. Too often mediocre "talents" attempt to glom onto anyone they think they can learn from. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself; on the surface, it's a valid way of learning, especially when you haven't the slightest fucking clue what you're doing.
But what seems to eventually happen in some cases is that eager beaver turns into a shark seeking blood in order to validate itself. When that happens, they put me in the mind of the hired gun in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" who prompted the title character to remark that "dyin' ain't much of a livin'." In other words, they seem to need to tear down the one who's doing what they want so desperately to be perceived as doing because they've begun realizing maybe they're not going to do it after all.
It has happened in the distant and recent past and I've finally reached a point of zero tolerance. But when someone tries to act like a bigshot with industry knowledge while still a neophyte and nobody checks them on it, my opening sentence becomes a prophecy well on its way to being fulfilled.
If it does, I won't be party to helping it along. I'm too busy writing and getting published and having people read my work to deal with that particular bullshit anymore. Latch onto someone else likes the ticks that you are~