Tag Archives: Skills

A Message From A Shitty Writer

A young man gets bored, and decides to write a story. He decides to write a story about the most exciting thing he can imagine. Along the way, he discovers that he isn’t very good at it. He’s created the literary equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger: it’s food, but not very sustenary; full of shitty preservatives and filler that only the most careless would consume, let alone enjoy.

As time goes by, he realizes that the health-nuts were right. It’s shit. And anyone who likes it is a deadly idiot.

More time passes, and yet, the shit remains. Undissolved, in the pit of his stomach. Making him sick. More and more, he realizes how important it is to take care of his health. To take care of his mind. And to take care of his stories.

But man has to fight against his own nature when he diets and exercises. All the truth in the world won’t change a stubborn man into action. At least, not necessarily.

The voices tell him that he himself needs to speak. Their triumphs arouse in him his desire to succeed himself. A best friend’s favorite author, and one of the most heralded pieces of political fiction ever written, call out within him the desire to scream. The exhaustion and dissatisfaction comes rapidly. It isn’t that the words aren’t good. But it’s that his heart screams out to speak. He can’t take it anymore. He screams out loud, to only a few. His words will fade into obscurity. Can’t the young man focus on these resonating words? For some reason, only a little. And that reason, it appears to be, is the desire to scream himself.

The youth are cursed with ignorance. But, strangely enough, the young man is smart enough to realize this. But, as an old country song used to sing, “still too young to care“. Besides, the confidence in youth can lead to contentment in old age. There will be no shortage of sages making you aware of their own failures. But why they assume that their shortcomings will be your own remain a mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, I don’t care how good of a writer John D. MacDonald is, I’m not a big fan of them.

The main thing that is going to get me to read is going to be my desire to improve as a writer. I suppose there will be moments when I am bored enough to read rather compulsively. But as I read, I realize that I am dissatisfied with my own abilities as a storyteller. It matters not to me that these writers are better than I. What matters is that my heart is dissatisfied with my inability to communicate as often, and as effectively, as I wish.

I can hear many old sayings about how those who wish to speak the most often, and the loudest, are the dumbest. My goal is to be a bright exception to that rule. Despite the fact that, by almost every standard, my words are abjectly elementary and juvenile, the beast within my heart waits to be awakened. Bilbo and Smaug both want the gold. And my goal is to make sure they both get it.

Of course, it’s a long journey. But journeys are best when they aren’t directed by an outsider. When they are directed by the self. When the reason for them is clear within the mind of the one taking the journey. That is part of my journey. Being able to say things beautifully, and creatively, and witfully. Beautiful, well-written stories of tragedy, horror, adventure, and heartbreak. Isn’t it ironic how that is what the heart wants? Heartbreak?

I mean no disrespect to any author that has come before me, or will come after me. But you’re all tools. I’m going to use you. Your existence is for my selfishness. Your words are going to become mine. I can appreciate the fact that, sometime throughout your life, you felt just as compelled to scream as me. But beyond that, I wish, myself, to scream. Maybe I’ll catch a faint holler in the distance, of the message you wished for me to absorb. But that whisper is saying to me “Scream, dammit. Scream. Learn how to scream for yourself. And use us to do it.”

The only trouble is screaming coherency, or even better still, charm, and wit, instead of nonsense.

Sometimes, the hardest part of screaming is the screaming. Other times, the hardest part of screaming is the message. But I think as long as I’m able to scream, I’m going to relish that gift, that right, right along with other screamers. I appreciate your screams, and I long to join in on the hauntingly beautiful chorus…

Long live the written word, and may we chant this from the sulphury pits of Hell if we must.

Message.

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The Apparent Conflict Between “Practicality” and “Art”

I’m not sure if my best friend, Devin Stevens, wishes me to make this public or not. But I think I will, anyway. My best friend, Devin Stevens, has a habit of walking back and forth, talking to himself. It is interesting, and some might even say peculiar. I really only paid attention to it when trying to talk to him, only to be ignored. A boy lost in his own head. Consumed by his own thoughts. The outside world, be damned. How it has always been, how it will always be. No hard feelings, of course. But I did find it quite interesting.

And now, here I sit, these several years later. A post opened, writing down words. Struggling to find exactly how to say what I wish to say, and how I want to say it. So what do I do? Why, I pace back and forth, and start talking to myself, of course. Why? Well, as I paced back and forth, talking to myself, I realized something. What am I doing when I talk to myself, walking back and forth? Well, I’m thinking, and I’m communicating. I’m thinking, organizing, and communicating it back to myself. And what is writing? Writing is thinking and communicating. So, in other words, they are the same. Thoughts come out of nowhere, and then, the will acts upon them. The thoughts come, effort is put into them as far as organizing and developing are concerned, and the end goal is some conclusion. Some conclusion to the sequence of thoughts that have occurred. At that point, one can decide whether or not to communicate those ideas: in what form, to whom, and how. Then, the communicatee goes through the same process, and back and forth it goes.

So what is the point of communication? The point is whatever the communicators want it to be. In other words, why does anyone ever talk to anyone at all? Because they want to; have decided to, for whatever reason. And these reasons are varied. So why do I communicate? For various reasons. The main one being that I want to. And why do I want to? I do not know. I think thoughts, I like them, and I want other people to be aware of them. “Do you like them, too?” I suppose that’s the main point. “Do you like my thoughts, too? Do you enjoy them as much as I do? Because I’ve really enjoyed them. They’ve made me happy. Do they make you happy?”

I realize that this is humorous to say, but, of course, I am not the only person who thinks, and I am not the only person who communicates. Everyone does this. When people communicate with me, I listen, and think. And then, I communicate back. And there have been very few people who I have communicated with who enjoy writing as much as I do. The main one is my best friend. And I don’t think our love for writing and our friendship status are separable.

Most of the people I have communicated with have skills that I don’t have. They tell me that I should learn those skills, as they have, because it would be helpful. My natural instinct is just to pay someone else to do it. It’s easier. I do something else for money, and give you the money to fix my problem that I don’t want to learn how to fix. It’s understandable how blasphemous it is to someone who does “fix their own problems” (arguably, I am fixing mine by paying someone else to fix it for me). But I don’t think those people love writing as much as I do. I never hear them talk about stories that they wish to write. Or treatises. It never seems to come up. Not once. They might mention a book that they’ve read, that someone else has written. But they never say “Hey, I want to write a book.” I realize that people don’t live in a fantasy-land where they can do whatever they want when there is money that has to be made, things that must be fixed, food that must be obtained to be eaten, etc. But starving artists have always, and will always, balance between making the money that they need to make and doing what their heart really wants to do. And that is a very difficult struggle. Artists often choose their art over more money. Non-artists don’t really have to make that decision: they just pick the money, no questions asked. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Some people seem to have accepted that “it doesn’t matter” what their heart really wants. But how many of them are happy? And yet, they’d respond that their happiness doesn’t matter. I reject that philosophy from many fronts. I have a lot to say about it. I’ve written about it some, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the future. But I reject the way that basic truths are applied by “the public”. I disagree with the way “most people” seem to apply reality. I can’t really get into it all here. I think that it will be a “life’s work” that I work toward; explaining my philosophies.

So how do I talk to anyone when they do not desire to write much of anything (for various reasons), when I do desire to write fictional stories or “treatises”? That’s the hard part. Talk gets small, even if important. It never comes to what I love. (Why “should” it? Well, why should I listen to anyone talk about anything at all? Why should I listen to someone, even a friend or family member, talk about their children? Or their health? Or the health of someone else that they care about? Well, it is simple. They have decided to tell me these things because it matters to them. And I listen, because I am either their friend or family member, and that’s what friends and family members DO. So why should the conversation ever come to what I love: writing? Well, why should any conversation ever come to anything that ANYONE loves?)

I suppose it rarely gets to what they love, either. Other things take precedent over dreams. One has to be able to eat, after all. And there ain’t gonna be any food if there’s none grown or raised. But my will, my decision, is to write. That’s what matters to me on this planet. I may not know how to fix my own car, or my own plumbing. But who is going to write if I don’t? Mechanics and plumbers won’t be writing. If everyone was a mechanic or a plumber, there’d be no books. I want to create books for mechanics and plumbers and everyone else to read. That is important to me. I’m more than happy to pay someone else to fix my problems if that means I don’t have to spend the time and energy learning how to do them when I could be reading or writing instead (or Hell, even listening to music, or playing video games, or whatever else that I want to do). It’s worth it to me to pay that price.

But it’s honestly my fault that conversations that I am in never include my love for writing. Why? It is very simple. Because the very skill that I’m lacking is the very thing that I love to do. In other words, what I love to do is to communicate. But I’m not good enough at it yet to actually do it. So I can’t accurately communicate to others that what I love to do is to communicate. I struggle constantly with that. Of course, questions are begged: “What kind of communication?”, etc. And there’s a million different pieces of advice that I will not take. I will do communication in my own way; in a way which brings me happiness. And I can’t accurately explain why it is that I’m going to do that at the moment, and thus, the frustration continues. It never really truly ends.

Writing is very hard. There is no way around it. It’s hard and it will be hard until you finish it. And you can say “Thank God” when it is done. But getting anything done is just hard, and there’s no way around it. If you want it done, it’s going to be hard. And if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. So it is either “hard” or nothing at all. As is every area of life. And that’s why being alive is such a son-of-a-bitch situation to BE in.

Everything looks easy when someone else is doing it. But doing something for yourself will always show you how hard it really is to do. I’ve always enjoyed learning that for myself, because once I learn how hard something is to do, I don’t sit around, envious of others, saying “I could do that. Life isn’t fair.” I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime, and I’m done surrounding myself with people that think that way. “It’s not fair that person has muscles and I’m fat. Welp, let’s start eating right and exercising. Hey, I exercised for a week. That’s pretty good. Where are my results? What? You’re telling me I have to do this CONSTANTLY? And I’ve got to drastically alter my diet? Uhh…so my choices are to either drastically change my lifestyle and get the muscles, or keep my lifestyle and either stay envious that I don’t have muscles or just say ‘Fuck the muscles’? I think it’s time to move on.” I personally could not handle anymore envy than I had in my late teens. It was unbearable. Muscles and money, muscles and money. My envy of those with more money than me reached a breaking point, and that’s when I decided to learn what the fuck was going on. To me, my choices were to either “Rip everybody off like everybody else is doing who has a lot of money”, or be “A good person who will inevitably be poor”. I thought those were my only two options. And at that point, I broke. My life changed forever from that day. That was as low as I had been in a while, but things changed for me that day. I know it was a religious experience. Everything has been completely different since then. And I’ve never looked back.

I’ve made some philosophical life choices over the years. At one point, I chose to be nihilistic because I thought it was “cool”. The completely idiotic “split” between religion and science made me choose science because science made sense, and if religion said science was bullshit, then I knew religion was bullshit. But thinking that science had every answer known to man made me angry and depressed when it, inevitably, was given questions that it simply couldn’t answer. Something was missing. “Science” was not enough of a framework to me. Thinking of how to “scientifically” explain light waves every time you turn on a light bulb isn’t healthy. With one caveat. It isn’t healthy if you DON’T LIKE IT. That is what I finally realized, with some help from my best friend, Devin Stevens. Devin introduced me to some religious ideas that I had never considered before. And I pondered them, and pondered them. And the more he told me, the more things made sense. And my life has completely changed, for the better, because of him. Without a single doubt. My perspective on life has completely changed thanks to him.

My parents, of course, have also influenced me. My father always told me to get an education, so that I could have a better job than HE had. He told me this and told me this and told me this. “Don’t do what I did. Go to school.” And my mother always gave me the confidence that I could make my dreams a reality. The “unstoppable force” (very evidently my mother) and the “immovable object” (very evidently my father) made ME. I couldn’t imagine being anyone else. Their advice produced a lot of anxiety within me growing up. I didn’t know how I was going to “do better than them”. I wanted to, because they advised it, and I didn’t want to hate my job every day, as they did. I was desperate to avoid that lifestyle. But I had no idea what I was going to do. HOW I was going to do it. I looked to the “rich and famous“: what have they done? What do they do? They play basketball? They act? Let me try those. And it was a fantastic decision to try. Because of what I mentioned earlier. My envy quickly evaporated. And I needed to learn something that I could actually do.

I learned to read at a young age, and I read a lot to my parents. I’ve written some about my history with reading here. And, somehow, I’ve got a “knack” for writing as well. Probably got it from my parents. It got developed in school as well. I’m convinced that good readers can write. Hell, I can write, and I’m not even a good reader. But writers are thinkers. But I don’t think that is enough. Writers aren’t just thinkers: they are UNIQUE thinkers. Common ideas don’t need to be written, because they don’t need to be read. If everyone says the same thing all the time throughout their day in communication with one another, why would any of them ever take the time to write something? Or read something? It’d always be the same. So writers are unique. There has to be something unique about writers. Even if multiple writers write very similar things, there’s just something different about us writers. We’re just different. Unique. Strange. “A little off”. And that’s what makes us so great. That’s what makes us worth reading. We’ll come to you when we need our cars fixed, but maybe we can entertain you or teach you something while you’re shitting. When people do what they desire, and take action, things just seem to have a way of working out symbiotically. Years of studying economics has taught me that profound fact.

So I appreciate it when a friend or family member tries to give me advice. I may or may not know exactly what they know, but, at the very least, I’m sure their hearts are in the right place. But I know what my heart says. I know what I need to do. I don’t know exactly how it will play out, but no one does. No one who gives advice knows how everything will play out. So the question becomes: what should I do? That, I will figure out myself. And, right now, it is telling me to write. It is telling me that I need to learn a lot more when it comes to writing. It is telling me that I need a lot more confidence when it comes to writing. That I need to read more. That I need to be more assertive. That I need to write more often. That I need to dedicate more time and patience to writing. And it is telling me that I need to be by myself, walking around, back and forth, thinking of things. Because that will, inevitably, help me with my writing. And that is what I want.

I think you’re on to something, Devin. I don’t know if you realize it or not. But I truly believe you are on the right track. And I believe I’m going to follow in your footsteps. I can’t thank you enough. Good luck to you. And to all of my fellow artists. And Hell: even to the non-artists, too. Good luck to EVERYBODY.

The Process of Thinking.

Apparent.

A Treatise on Stubbornness.

Intellect Equals Cockiness?

Why Express?

Why Do I Write How I Write?

Getting Sucked Into the World of Writing.

Conserv.

Personality Development.

Creative Confidence

I entered this world as an introvert. As I got older, comedy became my way of communicating with other people. Whenever I allowed my brain to develop a completely independent thought that wasn’t “comedy”-related, and shared that thought with others, I often found that they thought I was crazy. I started to believe this as well. And this kept me from sharing serious thoughts with others. Comedy has always been easier for me than writing something “serious”.

I have not yet determined if they were right, or if I was, and am, right. I can tell that this uncertainty hinders me creatively. But I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. If I completely express myself, completely and honestly, am I actually an insane person? Am I a danger to others? Are my honest thoughts dangerous to others? To many, that’s a weird question to ask. But to me, it’s normal. I’m learning the importance of independence. And I’m learning how I can improve as a writer. But I still have my doubts. I begin to write something, and feel as if I’ve already written it before. Then, those children of my past come back, and ask “Why do you repeat yourself so often?” And then, there’s doubts. I start to “look up” why I repeat myself so often. Ope, looks like it’s OCD. So then, I obsess over my “self-diagnosed” OCD, until I finally just say “I can’t do this anymore.” Even if I do only repeat myself with everything I write, if that’s what I feel like I should write, then that’s what I’m going to write. If I’m truly a mental patient, then as long as I feel honest with myself, I’ll have to accept that I’m more “disordered” than the general population.

I’m tired of adopting ideas about myself that come directly from others. This is partly why I have developed my “vulgar” stage: as a way to rebel from being told how I should think. What do I think? What do I honestly think and believe? It is crucial to the soul for one to develop his own thoughts and convictions. Something is always missing if one doesn’t.

It is fun to take what people believe about me and exaggerate it. I really enjoy that. I really enjoy “scaring” ignorant people. It’s dangerous, because there are some people out there crazier than I who wouldn’t hesitate to end my life. But if freedom of expression is so important, why should death be enough to scare one into silence?

I don’t want to be told how I should bring my creative visions to life. I don’t want to be afraid of being “crazy” and “repetitive”. I’ve always believed that I know what I’m talking about. If you disagree, say so. You have every right to say nasty things about me, or whatever you want. I’m not going to stop you. In fact, I encourage it. I may delete a comment, but start your own blog. I have learned that good people will always get their names smeared by bad people, so I welcome that. I welcome the miscreants to destroy my name. I fucking love it. Bring it on.

I always envision an assassination attempt against me, much like Larry Flynt. “Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut? Is it really worth it?”, you may ask. I believe so. I have always been willing to stand up for what I believe to be right. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me, or anything severe, but I’ve been attacked (when I was a kid) for standing up for justice. Been stabbed with a pencil, and had my face slammed into a desk, because I took back a seat that was stolen from me. I realize that’s a minor example. But it proves the principle. Even though I’m not perfect, and I’ve done some bad things, I think I can safely say that justice motivates me.

I have very deep convictions regarding comedy and writing. I have big goals. I will not stop pursuing them. It’s a very slow process, as I have said. But practice will make me better. I’ll develop my voice with practice and experience. I will be able to handle justified and unjustified criticism as I get older. It’s going to be a while before those voices of doubt go away. It’s exhausting to read and try to get better. Entering into the literature world is a huge endeavor. But I want to write, and I want to see where it takes me. I want to learn from my mistakes as a writer. I don’t want to let criticism silence or censor me. And all of this is going to be very hard to do. The thing that gives me hope is the fact that writers write over a very long period of time, so I know I’ll get better at this as I go along. I’ll just have to feel like I’m spinning my wheels until I finally, somehow, get out of the mud.

I’m not able to completely make up my mind yet, and that bugs me. I want all of my writing philosophies to be fully developed now, but they aren’t, and can’t be. There will be growing pains. That’s a part of it. But I look forward to seeing where it all ultimately goes. For whatever reason, I am confident in my abilities to write. I didn’t say I was good yet, but I’m confident that I can do some good things over time. It’s just a matter of learning how to do it, and that is hard; especially, if you’re as thin-skinned as I am. Even that callousness takes practice, and I’m impatient. But I look forward to seeing where it all goes, and I’m looking forward to how I’m going to feel about it all. I generally feel confident until I get negative feedback, but I think that’s just natural for a lot of people. I may be an engine without oil, but I’ll learn to lubricate eventually. I truly believe that I am the little engine that could, and now, it’s just a matter of proving it over a period of time. That, of course, is the hard part.