I have this DVD of one of Eric Clapton's drug resort fund raiser concerts. I've watched it about a thousand times. I especially like the little commentaries between the sets like the one in which Carlos Santana slanders Greatest Guitar Player to Ever Walk the Earth John Mayer by saying that, "He had to go through Clapton to find himself," as if the center of the blues guitar universe moved to Fairfield, Connecticut because John Mayer went through Eric Clapton. Get real!
I am no John Mayer. If I ever do find my artistic self, which seems extremely doubtful considering that, after nearly four decades, I still have absolutely no inkling of my artistic self, it will be pretty obvious who I went through to get there. More likely, I'll just continue to write in the exact style of UF Mike, or as close as I possibly can, because I am incapable of building my own style upon the concrete foundation UF Mike has provided me along with supporting structures from the few other authors I've connected with in some way. I don't even know how to mix the mortar. Take my post from yesterday. Other than substituting polyethylene for spandex, there isn't a subatomic particle of an idea within it that wasn't stolen directly from my friend, UF Mike. It was plagiarized in every way that a blog post can be plagiarized. I know it. UF Mike knows it. If you've read Mike's blog for more than one day, you know it. Everybody knows it. That said, I also know it is a seriously good blog post. It is good because my years of brutal, ignorant writing practice, practice that began long before I ever stumbled upon this author Michael Little who has his own town in Pennsylvania, has prepared me to successfully mimic the exact style and content of a really fucking good blogger. I am proud of the post, but I am no John Mayer.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is no John Mayer, either. He tried to go through Stevie Ray and got stuck. Kenny Wayne Shepherd sounds more like Stevie Ray than Stevie Ray. When I hear Kenny Wayne Shepherd play, I think, "Shit! Stevie Ray is living in that dude!" Kenny Wayne is good, but he is no John Mayer.
The key to self-acceptance is being able to distinguish hard limitations from soft ones. I will never become an NHL defenseman because I lack the athletic ability to do it and I'm too small. Those are hard limitations. I will never be the Greatest Guitar Player to Ever Walk the Earth because I am tone deaf. That is a hard limitation. It's not looking good, but I'm not yet prepared to say that I'll never be able to write well in my own style. I'm not convinced that I'll never be able to transcend UF Mike and Krakauer and Balzac and finally become myself, but I'm not going to endure the angst of not knowing forever. At some point, I may allow myself the peace of accepting yet another hard limitation. At some point, I may have to admit that I'll never be any better at blogging than Kenny Wayne Shepherd is at playing guitar: