Impostor's Workshop

The Impostors’ Workshop

I was listening to The James Altucher Show yesterday (yea I’m a big brain guy) and he had this guy Eric Weinstein on. I promise this has a point to it. Eric Weinstein was talking about confidence, something that every self-help book and therapist and successful business guy/gal talks about. You always get the standard stuff like you need to believe in yourself, just do it even if you are scared, or whatever other bullshit they think you want to hear. But Weinstein kind of skipped over that kind of useless crap and brought up this impostor idea to things, a kind of fake-it-till you make it philosophy I particularly connected too.

The idea is basically that if you look at an area that you would like to do something in, whether it is creative, academic, physical, spiritual or whatever else you can think of, and you are hesitant to try or pursue it because you don’t think you have the proper schooling, training, skills, confidence, talent, personality, body, etc. so what.

Yea my instant reaction to hearing that introduction is probably what you are thinking, how does that address the real issue, which is that I am literally paralyzed by fear because I know I am a fake. Well, Weinstein says embrace that. I’m paraphrasing a little but he said something along the lines of “So what if you are an impostor. Instead of trying to fight it, say to yourself, what if I am an impostor. Maybe my faking it is better then someone’s earnest attempt.”

Now to the point. The area I always have felt like an impostor in is creative writing. It doesn’t matter what I have done, there is always a sense of missing a crucial piece of schooling or training or whatever that makes anything I write suck. I even have had articles I have written published in actual books and websites from real publishing companies (humble brag, though they are medical, geography and media articles, which considering I have no formal education in any of those areas kind of goes with this theme) so there has been real feedback from real people that I am at the very least capable of writing coherent things, albeit non-fiction stuff..

But creative stuff is different, you really are putting yourself out there. Even in creating this blog I have this feeling of being an impostor. I admire the kind of people who can just do something and put it out there without fear. Every time I post something I think to myself how shitty it is. I even know that nobody reads any of this stuff or if they do I have no idea who I am but I can’t shake the feeling that I am going to be exposed as like a fraud. I read blogs all the time and think to myself that I can write better then that, yet I hesitate to ever actually write anything, and if I do I still get nervous putting it out there. So for the sake of embracing my inner impostor, here is some creative writing I had done years ago and occasionally revise. I am going to use this blog to self-edit and put out new versions of this every once in a while. That is the longest intro to doing something ever.

The Duel

He woke with a start, his eyes snapping open, head swiveling to take in the scenery quickly. His head was throbbing, that was no surprise. He was soaking wet, depending on what happened last night, that also was not surprising. As his vision cleared he saw his two people standing over him, one holding an empty bucket. Well that solved one mystery. Not trusting his voice, he groggily sat up and awaited the answer to the next mystery.

“Shes dead” Jacques said.

That certainly explained why the two men broke into his room and woke him. He attempted to get out of bed and stumbled to the ground, which proved particularly painful due to his lack of clothing and the direction he fell. The two moved to help, but he waved them off.

He slowly got to his feet and felt a small sense of pride, not many men would be able to stand when it felt like their head weighed a hundred pounds. Sometimes it’s the little things.

“so what do we do” Jacques asked after accepting his silence as an answer.

Still not trusting his voice he slowly walked to the table and sat. His treasure laid strewn across the table. He took the knife and began to chop the white, rocky powder into lines. After a few moments of doing his best imitation of a line cook, he was satisfied with their length and texture. Not for the first time, he reflected on society’s lack of recognition of the artistry this took. He proceeded to pick up the gold cylinder lying next to the pile and brought one end to the first line, the other end to his nose.

He inhaled deeply till nothing remained of the powder.

Instant awareness. Pure bliss. Power.

He was invulnerable.

Finally trusting his voice he simply stated “He dies then”

“Do you really…”

“Where is the sword” he interjected. He panicked for a moment, frantically looking around the room. But he knew where the sword was and went to retrieve it. Today, after countless nights contemplating, was the day he finally unsheathed the blade. He picked up the blade gingerly, caressing the handle like it was a lover’s flesh. To him it was.

“Today you finally get your wish” he whispered to the blade. He could see the confusion on his men’s eyes out of his peripherals, even when holding his heart’s desire there was not much he missed. They thought he was crazy. He was willing to accept that.

Months in a self-imposed prison, doing nothing but inhaling the white gold and drinking whatever they brought up from the bar, refusing to speak to anyone in person but Jacques, and spending your time talking to a sword might not be the behavior of a sane person.

It did not matter. For today the blade would see the light, and it would feast on blood.

“Just wait a little longer” he reassured the blade.

“Sir are you alright” the other one, Wilth asked. Wilth always spoke to him respectfully, even though he hadn’t spoken back to him in months. The man did what he was told. And was well paid for it.

He did not have time for questions, he picked his clothes off of the ground. His breeches had several holes in them and his shirt was missing a sleeve. It did not matter. He shuffled some of the powder into a satin pouch, tying the knot and placing it with the straw gingerly into his pocket. He placed the longsword on his back and exited the room, brushing by the two men on his way out.

He walked down the hall, his stride was confident, gone was the drug induced haze. As he made his exit, the innkeeper called “Blaser, you gon pay for the room or yer out.”  Blaser, yes that was what he was calling himself. He did not respond, continuing out the door into the afternoon sun.

Its time to kill. He still wasn’t sure whether it was the sword or his own imagination, but either way somebody was speaking to him inside his head. “Soon soon” he consoled the blade. He worked his way along the paved road, the neat two story adobe buildings lining the sides in perfect symmetry. His feet were taking him to the courtyard, which made sense considering that was where Bakmon would be. He walked in the middle of the road, his look was enough to make carts redirect themselves and foot traffic to find another way around.

Hawkers cut their pitch short as he walked by nervously waiting until he past. He pulled the pouch out, opening it just enough to dip the straw in. He inhaled until it felt as if he couldn’t breathe.

Awareness, bliss, power.

As he approached the courtyard it was obvious word had spread. Street toughs, well-armed with spiked maces, stood with expressions meant to hide their fear. He walked past, and as he did they fell in behind his 3 man entourage.

The courtyard was emptied, rare for this time of day. Though the reason for that was obvious, Bakmon himself was standing in the middle, sharpening his gigantic battle axe, surrounded by a gang of armored soldiers.

“So you are alive, well lets settle this the easy way” the orc said. Most men would have been intimidated by a 7 foot orc in malshon armor, but Blaser wasn’t most men.

He ignored the statement, walking towards Bakmon, not breaking eye contact. Bakmon looked away at his soldiers, “Make way you good for nothing fucks”. As if to reiterate his point he took the nearest soldier and tossed him a good 10 feet away. The soldiers quickly shuffled after that.

Blaser made his way towards the middle and stopped when he was two paces away from the orc. Bakmon was surprisingly well-groomed for an orc, his orange hair was pulled back in a bun, and he had a clean shave, which served to make his green skin shine brighter. Blaser continued to stare at him until Bakmon broke the silence.

“Here are their heads, I did not authorize this.” He pulled two heads from a sack lying by his feet and tossed them. A quick glance showed that one was a Subasi troll, the other some Igolo or Samkrit human.

“It does not matter they are your soldiers”

“I guess it doesn’t, just thought you would like to see them dead before you join them”.

The orc certainly didn’t lack confidence.  The soldiers backed up, giving the two warriors plenty of space. Blaser took the pouch out again, and after another inhalation, placed it back in his pocket.

Awareness, focus, strength.

He pulled the sword out and stared. The frozen flame, legendary sword of Licarious, given to him for safekeeping to never to be unsheathed, gleamed in the sun. He forgot where he was for a second as he stared lovingly at the sword. Its clear blade drank the sunlight, the red substance the crystal incased was darker then blood. The pommel was pure malshon, the grip well worn. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on.

 Kill, must kill. Licarious had warned him, the blade demanded its price. Vaguely he remembered Licarious telling him to hide the blade and never hold it, for the blade could consume you. Blaser didn’t believe him at first, a sword was a mere object. But now he knew, this was more then a blade.

 He could see it in Balkmans face, the orc was scared, he hadn’t believed the rumors. His posture changed, he went from towering over Blaser to backing up defensively, giant battle-axe in a guard position. Without the sword this would have been a close fight, in Blaser’s condition he was as likely to pass out as to strike through the orc’s armor, but with the sword everything changed.

Despite the extraordinary difference in size and Blaser’s obvious lack of armor, he held no fear. Fear was something Blaser had never learned, even before the powder and the sword. He pulled his head back and laughed, the laugh of a madman. When Blaser was done he looked at Balkman, and saw a dead orc. The sword was silent. For now.