What’s Wrong With Being Not Right For Everyone?

The Audience Is  Never Wrong Wrong Theater

My father leveraged his iconoclastic, condescending personality into an asset; and rode it to celebrity. Only much later did I come to see that he craved approval, even adulation, the way an addict craves narcotics. Like an addict, his hunger was insatiable; the more validation he received the more he needed. Watching in terrified awe, I grew up believing that mass acceptance is highly desirable, and a reliable barometer of value.

“Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.” Taz Mopula

He lived in the spotlight; I lived in the shadow. Growing up in the dark taught me to love the cool, quiet of oblivion, where I was safe from the horrors of accomplishment and the judgment that went with it. If I wasn’t known to anyone, (the logic went), I couldn’t disappoint. The death of a thousand (self-administered) cuts was well underway.

“Looking for self-worth in someone else’s eyes is like trying to breathe with someone else’s lungs.” Taz Mopula

Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) stole the anonymity that cloaked me; fits of mania splattered my once secret torment across the front page, I soon became a nasty joke everyone had heard. For years I labored to understand and remedy what madness had revealed – learning to love the real me. In time I came to understand that honesty is the very bedrock of all recovery.

“It’s not that I don’t love you, I do love you; I just don’t love you enough to lie to you.” Taz Mopula

That is precisely when I ceased being a dilettante and began taking myself seriously as a creative artist. I wrote my bipolar memoir, applying a searching, fearless honesty which some regard as brutal. From then on the die was cast, in subsequent books, poems, cartoons – even Taz Mopulisms – truth, in other words – what I understand to be the truth – trumped all.

“The audience is never wrong; that said, one does occasionally wander into the wrong theater.” Taz Mopula

Everything about my experience is eccentric, and so, as you might expect, I have many unorthodox beliefs and opinions which I share freely. I certainly don’t set out to upset or offend, it’s merely an unintended consequence. There is no alternative. I don’t expect universal acceptance – honestly, that would almost be a bad sign – I am merely offering freely to all and looking for my audience.

“There is only one truly authentic way to enjoy success; that is by remaining indifferent to it.” Taz Mopula

Published by

Alistair McHarg

Alistair McHarg was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved immediately to Edinburgh, and three years later moved to Amsterdam. At 6 he settled in Philadelphia and for 16 years was confused by Quaker education; Germanton Friends School and Haverford College. A Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville nudged him even closer to unemployability. Convinced at an early age that fate had chosen writing as his calling, Alistair followed a characteristically slow and circuitous path. He has found work as deck hand on a Norwegian tramp freighter touring South America, Bureau of Land Management Emergency Fire Fighter in Alaska, guide at a Canadian wilderness survival camp, truck driver crisscrossing Colorado's continental divide, and inner city cabbie. Alistair has been arranging words on paper for a living since 1983.