Paranoia Strikes Deep

I know only one sure sign that I'm doing my real work: paranoia. If I'm out there adequately far, or have just returned from one of those excursions, I might feel the elation of creating something brand new and worthy of me and the world, while underneath, a gnawing suspicion simmers. Am I stepping off the cliff instead of just close enough to it? Am I inadvertently bruising anyone? Is my ecstasy agonizing another? Am I standing on another's toes as I arch up onto mine?

I might have never yet touched the face of any God, but I've shaved my share of them; bare blade barely separating achievement from ideal. These experiences were at least as humbling as elating, and no one else, no matter how close the shave, could feel the turbulence this perennial test pilot always feels.

My best work always scares the Hell out of me, and should. I might wake up under the bed, curled into a fetal coil, questioning my sanity along with my deeply suspect authority. Just who in the Hell did I think I was? And who in the Hell must that leave me being?

If my reading of history has taught me anything, I've grown to understand that there are no carefree geniuses. And those of us that occasionally glimpse some distant evidence of a tiny bit of our own genius do not dance away from these experiences, but slink. We are as exhausted as we've ever been. Drained. As if instead of shedding mere skin, we'd shed the inside out. Those of us that have done this in private are plenty breathless. Those who do this in public, on a stage, before a room filled with unavoidable strangers—inevitably intimate friends—are excused if they feel the compulsion to peek over their shoulder for a few days afterward.

I remind myself as I remind everyone who reads this prose. The geniuses you revere, fear. They hear a crazy horn and just start dancing, or singing, inflating always another trial balloon; their soul's inheritance, their sole legacy. They grow to expect bi-polar feedback, but never to comfortably settle beside it. One cheese never pleases everyone, and someone always expects Velvetta and just has to complain about the bleu, though nobody ever blew anything.


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